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Buck finds sanctuary by smashing through Sturgis church window

The buck climbs the stairs of the church auditorium. (WWMT/Courtesy: Amanda Eicher)
The buck climbs the stairs of the church auditorium. (WWMT/Courtesy: Amanda Eicher)
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A 10-point buck has become the star of a viral video after crashing into a St. Joseph County church on the opening day of firearm deer-hunting season.

The buck smashed through the window of Grace Christian Fellowship in Sturgis Monday morning. Pastor Amanda Eicher had just arrived at the church with her husband Luke, who is also a pastor, when she noticed something was amiss.

"We have light blockers over the windows, these boards and the blinds. So they're always dark," said Amanda. "When we walked in Monday morning, it wasn't dark. So I could see that something was wrong. I peeked my head in the auditorium and I saw that this window was shattered. I heard banging and I thought, 'What's going on? Somebody broke in!'"

Eicher said she alerted her husband right away.

"I yelled to my husband, 'They're still here!' My husband went running in and sure enough, there was a break-in, but it wasn't what we expected. It was a 10-point buck," Amanda recalled. "He couldn’t believe it. None of us could believe it. If you watched the video, you’ve heard me say, ‘Oh my word!’ That was my first reaction.”

Eicher recorded video of the buck as it jumped onto a wall in the church auditorium. The buck then climbed the stairs to the balcony.

"That's where we have our computers and sound board, and I thought he's going to, like, just tear everything up. So my focus was to get him back downstairs," said Luke.

Fortunately, the buck did not damage the equipment on the balcony. Instead, he ran around for a bit before climbing down the stairs and jumping out the window he originally came in.

"I was a little sad that we didn't actually take a little time to pray with him before he went out to face the world on the opening day of deer season," said Luke.

The buck cut himself on the glass, leaving some blood stains on the church walls and carpet. But otherwise, he appeared to be okay.

As for the church, it sustained a broken window and some stains and scuffs on the carpet and walls. But Amanda said there was no major damage.

"The deer was a gentleman," said Luke.

Since the Eichers posted the video of the buck online, it has gone viral, getting the attention of news outlets all over the country.

"Never for a million years did I think that the video would explode the way it has," said Amanda Eicher. "We're shocked. We've had phone calls all day long. (Monday) even right away, the video just has exploded. We thought we were just sharing a funny thing, maybe for our town or our community. And now, it's just everywhere."

The Eichers hope the video can bring joy for people, especially given how tough recent times have been.

"Nice to have a reason to laugh," said Amanda.

"Yeah, I hope it brings a smile to people's faces," Luke added . "We needed it and hopefully, other people can have a good chuckle as well."

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