Game warden approaches deer with locked antlers
Kansas Wildlife & Parks- Game Wardens

Whitetail Bucks Locked Antlers, But Only One Is Alive

A Kansas landowner discovered two whitetail deer with their antlers intertwined. Wildlife officials were called out to the farm, but the sighting took a surprising turn. According to the Kansas Department of Wildlife & Parks, when the officer arrived on the field, one of the bucks was dead. The department shared the story and photos on its official Facebook page.

The post read, "This past weekend, Franklin County Game Warden Ryan Twellmann responded to a farm near Rantoul after a landowner reported seeing two whitetail deer with their antlers locked together. Game Warden Twellmann found the entangled bucks near the original reported location. One buck was still alive, but the other buck had unfortunately already died. Using a shotgun and a slug round, Game Warden Twellmann was able to separate the antlers and free the buck from the entanglement. The buck immediately ran off unharmed, and Game Warden Twellmann issued a salvage tag to the landowner for the dead buck."

As the Facebook comments indicated, this unfortunately is not a rare occurrence. One commenter wrote, "I came across the same thing this past weekend, but sadly both bucks were dead, probably more than a week old." Another added, "Second one I've heard of this past weekend, I thought the other was a tall tale, but maybe not."

The farm is 55 miles southwest of Kansas City. Officials do not know how long the two bucks were entangled. Bucks locking antlers is not uncommon, however. During the rut, bucks battle it out for dominance, territory, and a prime shot at does. The rut takes place during mating season in October but may start in September and run through November depending on the region. A hallmark of the rut is dramatic but often-entertaining battles between the bucks as they try to win as many does' favor as possible. Young bucks have a hard time beating out the older, more-experienced males in these challenges. Therefore, they get fewer mating opportunities. During these dramatic battles, bucks' antlers can become entangled, especially if they are battling after they have lost their velvet.

Thankfully for the remaining buck in this situation, the game warden was an excellent shot.

READ MORE: This is How Far Bucks Really Wander During the Peak of the Rut