Eric Yant could hear the grunts, rustling, and heavy breathing of two big bucks, hopelessly tangled together, before Saturday’s sun came up.
When daylight arrived to the Wetaug area, Yant did not take aim at either of the deer. Instead, he put his own safety aside to attempt to free them after listening to them struggle for three hours.
After some tense moments, Yant was able to free the locked bucks by hand. Impressively, he did not have to saw any antlers. Many times, when bucks become entangled, their antlers are so intertwined that they must be removed.
The larger buck simply walked away.
The other deer was seriously injured, so Yant faced an ethical dilemma. Illinois only issues one buck tag per year, per hunter. Here before him was a gravely-wounded animal that he needed to put down; however, in doing so he would have been legally required to punch his tag on a deer that was smaller and less mature than what he was seeking.
Yant dispatched the injured deer and placed his one buck tag on it. Not many hunters would have done the right thing in this situation. Commendable, indeed!
As a side note, check out this sweet example of a hub-and-spoke stand in a cornfield!