Grocery store deer-wrangler to wife: 'I got this'

Liz Evans Scolforo
505-5429/@LizScolforoYD

Bobby Beck III knows he's part of a dying breed.

"I'm old school," the 45-year-old Conewago Township man said. "I couldn't even tell you how to turn on a computer, to be honest with you."

Impromptu deer-wrangler Bobby Beck III and his son, Zane, hold a fawn they raised.
(Photo courtesy of the Beck family)

Beck is an experienced outdoorsman who's comfortable with animals and comfortable with his own abilities — the kind of guy who might, say, spring into action and save a deer that was running through a grocery store.

Which is exactly what he did Monday night at the Giant Food Store in East Manchester Township, where he and wife Tonya Beck had stopped to buy Gatorade and cough medicine for the head cold that's been plaguing him for three weeks.

Stunned customers watched or grabbed for their cellphones to get photos of the wayward whitetail, but Beck had a different plan:

"I looked at my wife and said, 'I got this.'"

The chase was on: Witnesses watched as Beck sprinted after the doe. He caught up with her in the bakery department, moments before she reached the refrigerated glass cases in the dairy department.

"About 12 more feet and it would've been ugly," he said. The doe had somehow avoided slicing herself when she crashed through Giant's front glass entrance doors and shattered them, but Beck feared she wouldn't be as lucky with her next glass encounter.

"I grabbed her by the neck," he said, and "turned her around in a hurry."

Bobby Beck III managed to catch this white-tail deer inside the Manchester-area Giant Food Store and, with help, drag it outside to freedom on Feb. 6, 2017.
(Photo courtesy of Tonya Beck)

Still hanging onto her neck, Beck walked the doe toward the front of the store. But by that time customers had gathered to watch, and the crowd apparently spooked her.

"She started freaking out," he said. "She kicked me in the ribs and knocked me on my a—, literally onto the floor."

And that's when the deer-wrangling began in earnest.

Wouldn't let go: Beck said at one point he was hanging onto the doe by just her ear, and then by one of her legs.

"But I wasn't letting go, because then I would've had to catch her again," he said. "And that wouldn't have been fun."

After a few minutes of struggling, the doe gave up the fight.

"She was whupped at that point," Beck said.

Man thwarts Manchester deer's dash for dairy dept.

A man who'd been watching the tussle grabbed one of the deer's legs and another man put some sort of cloth over her eyes.

The three men then dragged her out the front door — the working one, not the one with shattered glass, Beck said — and took her to the side of the building.

"She was only bleeding out of her nose a little bit," Beck said. "We let her go and she took off toward Starbucks."

Rodeo time: Beck said he was shown Giant security video, but it captured only a portion of the incident.

"It took 50 seconds to get the deer in my hands," he said. "That's like a ... rodeo time."

Beck said he was disappointed there was no video of him and the deer wrestling on the floor.

A deer crashed through the glass doors of Giant Food Store on Glen Road in East Manchester Township on Monday, Feb. 6, 2017. A customer wrestled the deer out of the store, a witness said.
(Photo courtesy of Gracen Garman)

After the deer ran to freedom, a fellow shopper approached Beck in the Giant parking lot and indicated he was amazed by what he'd witnessed.

"I told him, 'That's just me. That's what I do,'" Beck said. "I just did the right thing and went back to my everyday life."

Adrenaline rush: He said the only soreness he felt the next day was from being kicked in the ribs.

"It makes me feel young again to do that stuff," Beck said. "I like the adrenaline rush."

He said his passion is being in the wild, hunting with his family; he particularly enjoys bow hunting.

Beck and his family raise fallow deer in a pen, "so dealing with deer is an everyday thing for me," he said.

— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at levans@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.