Concrete Statue Puts Smack-Down on Rutty Buck

If you've ever hunted over a decoy, you know that a whitetail buck will attack inanimate objects that resemble other male deer. My cousin has had two different 3-D targets--left out in his yard overnight--thrashed by rutting bucks. But a whitetail in Viroqua, Wisconsin, learned the hard way that sometimes those impostor bucks will fight back.

One morning in early November, Mark Brye looked out from his rural home and noticed the elk sculpture that decorates his lawn was lying on its side. Laying 20 feet away was a very dead whitetail buck. Apparently the buck had wandered into the Brye yard during the night, spotted the "bull", and mistook it for another rutting whitetail. The buck paid dearly for his courageous challenge, as the statue--which weighs 640 pounds--fell on the buck as he sparred with it. After getting body-slammed, the buck staggered off a few yards and died.

Brye and his wife Carol got the lawn ornament as a Christmas gift from their children four years ago. Brye is a devoted elk hunter and enjoys rising in the morning and looking out his window at the sculpture that reminds him of his western hunts. After seeing the dead buck and the tipped-over statue, Brye called a conservation warden to report the incident. The warden issued a tag to Brye that allowed him to keep the whitetail. The warden's note on the tag read "lawn ornament fight-lost."