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Print

Bucks dance deadly duet

December 15, 2007 at 06:22 PM

It was a scene straight from the Discovery Channel or Animal Planet: Two bucks locked in combat, the tines of their antlers so intertwined that neither likely would survive the encounter.

The scene wasn’t from some far-off locale. It played out near Lake Springfield, close to Camp Widjiwagan, the area Girl Scout camp.

“Actually, they were in my back yard,” says Ken Fustin, a Springfield firefighter for nearly 19 years. He lives at 597 W. Hoechester Road.

“I was out just working in my shop behind my house, and one of my friends and I walked behind the building and these two deer were fighting,” he says. “When we both saw them, they were standing up fighting. By the time I went back into the house to get my camera, the bigger one had collapsed.”

Bucks sometimes battle over territory and breeding rights. Occasionally, they can injure one another. In rare instances, their antlers can become entangled and the fight can turn fatal for both.

“Because the bucks do not have as much strength in their backward yanks as they have in their forward thrusts, they sometimes cannot unlock themselves, and so subsequently die a slow and merciless death,” says an article on the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Web site.

“Sometimes, the stronger buck will drag the weaker buck around for days, but it, too, will eventually die.”

Fustin says he is not a deer hunter, but fellow firefighter Jay Lovelace happened to call at the right moment. Fustin asked Lovelace if he had a deer tag.

“He drove to my house from Auburn with his bow and arrow and a deer tag and shot one,” he says. Another friend, Dennis Vandermeersch called his son, Tyler, to come out and shoot the other deer.

“I’m in the process of having them mounted just as we found them,” Fustin says.

He talked to the taxidermist and shared some of the photographs to help him understand how the deer were locked together.

“If you look at how their antlers are laced together, we barely got them apart after they were dead,” he says. “We had to pry them apart just to clean them.”

Fustin says deer are plentiful around the lake.

“I’ve got the Girl Scout camp just across the street,” he says. “There is quite a bit of timber and no one hunts out there because it is lake property, and the Girl Scout camp is a kind of preserve.

“There is a ton of deer out here.”

 

EDITOR'S NOTE: This story was published Dec. 15, 2007 in the Springfield State Journal-Register.

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please post some pictures of the deer.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 12/16 at 11:47 PM

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