Hunter bags dueling bucks in Sugar Creek

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Staff | November 22, 2013

A Wauwatosa duck hunter ended up bagging not one but two bucks simultaneously at Sugar Creek near Elkhorn last Thursday, according to a story in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Randy Bethe couldn't find any ducks on the overcast and windy day, but while canoeing down Sugar Creek, he came across a pair of bucks. The two animals had been fighting, got their antlers locked together and ended up drowning in the creek.

Bethe called Juan Gomez, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources conservation warden for Walworth County, who advised him to float the deer to the nearest bridge crossing. Gomez met Bethe there, asked a few questions, determined the deer had been in the water for only a matter of hours and issued him possession tags for both animals.

Bethe had the deer processed and donated the venison, but decided to have the heads of the bucks—a 15-pointer and a 10-pointer—mounted in locked position.

In a phone interview with Walworth County Today, Walworth County Conservation Warden Juan Gomez said Bethe had found the deer near Price Park Conservancy and had floated the carcasses and dragged them to a bridge crossing near Hodunk Road.

Gomez speculated that the two deer had been fighting, one was killed first, and the other headed for the water, dragging the dead animal with him.

Gomez said one of the bucks had broken tines inside his mouth, in the upper cavity of his throat and sticking out of his head.

While the water in that area of the creek is fairly shallow--about knee-deep, Gomez said, the weight of a dead deer on a live buck proved fatal.

"You've got two deer, weighing between 160 and 190 pounds each," he said. "You have a buck dragging almost 200 extra pounds, and he probably floundered to the water. Like any animal, when they're overheated, water cools them down. So he bedded in the water to cool down and with the extra weight, couldn't keep his head up and he drowned. "

The warden said he'd talked to a trapper who'd been at the creek the day prior to Bethe's call and hadn't seen the bucks in the water then.

Gomez said this was the second time this year he's gotten reports of deer fatally locking their antlers.

"Generally, it's not very common, and when you come across them in a field, they're usually in much worse condition than this because they've been dead for a while."

Read the complete story HERE.

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