The best way to untangle the pileup, Burke and Shields decided, was to sever the heads of two of the deer and remove their bodies; then the third deer would be removed intact, with the racks of the first two bucks still locked in its antlers.
“All three of the bodies were 200 pounds plus,” Burke says. “No way were we going to move them all together, and my top priority was to preserve the integrity of the lock.”
Burke’s friend Chris Davis waded into the water and zip-tied the antlers together as a precaution.
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.