Manchester peeked into his living room, where his family had just trimmed its new Christmas tree over the weekend, and found the source of the sound: An eight-point buck had broken in and was determinedly trashing his Tannenbaum.
Fearing the buck might injure his dog, Manchester locked her up and went upstairs to call 911. As animal control responded to the scene, Manchester called his father, John, at work to ask him where the keys to the family gun safe were.
“I had to convince him a little bit, but he gave them to me,” Manchester said.
John Manchester said he works about an hour from home, in Baltimore, and would have dispatched the deer had he been home.
“Absolutely, had I been there I would have done it myself,” he said. “Though Ryan might be a better shot than me.”
Now armed with a 9 mm Smith & Wesson, Ryan Manchester called animal control, and learned they were 15 minutes away.
“That was a little long for me,” he said.
So, Manchester, who said he is not a hunter but has target shooting experience, decided to bag his first deer in the comfort of his living room.
“I went downstairs,” he said. “I had to follow it around a little bit and wait for it to calm down. And I shot it.”
The deer slain, Manchester — a resident of the Dearbought neighborhood of Frederick — took photos with police, sent the head to a taxidermist for mounting, and sent the rest of the animal to the butcher.
Though it’s not clear why, Manchester speculated that the buck stormed the house through its solid oak front door because a doe had marked the Christmas tree, which was cut down at a local tree farm, with her scent.
“I’m just glad that I could protect my house and protect myself,” Manchester said.