Wildlife biologists are taught that anthropomorphism—endowing the animals they study with human qualities—is not good science. Yet, says Mike Tonkovich, deer project leader for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, “I can’t help wondering what was that third buck thinking? Whatever possessed him to get engaged when the two were already entangled?”
WARNING: The photos in this gallery are graphic in nature and may disturb some readers, but we feel they are necessary to tell the story of this rare natural occurance. - The Eds
To a hunter, it’s a stomach-tightening, bizarre sight. At the same time, it’s a stark example of the potential ferocity and brutality of the whitetail rut. These three Ohio bucks somehow locked antlers while battling near a small creek. When one deer slid into a shallow pool, it sealed the fate for all three, who drowned together, antlers still locked. Steve Hill talked to the men who found and recovered the deer and their combined 400-inches of antler to bring you the story of this sad, almost poetic scene.