Two Wyoming bull moose recently fought to the death—literally. The moose were found dead in Fish Creek, a waterway in a rural part of Teton County, on October 6. 

The moose appeared to have gotten their antlers locked together during a mating-season fight. Apparently, the giant ungulates then fell, likely from exhaustion, and promptly drowned in the creek.

According to the National Park Service, rutting bull moose are known to fight over territory and females. “Fights often result in serious injuries, and at worst, result in death,” explains the agency. 

That said, the phenomenon of deer, elk, and moose getting their antlers “locked up” during a fight is uncommon and relatively little is known about it. “It’s pretty rare. Maybe five years ago we had a similar incident,” Wyoming Game and Fish Department spokesman Mark Gocke told the Jackson Hole News & Guide. “It’s kind of heartbreaking to see two healthy, mature bull moose—doing what they do during the fall rut and battling—end up dying in a creek.”

With the help of a landowner’s skid steer, officials removed the carcasses from the creek. The moose were thought to have been in the creek for one or two days before they were found—and the meat was already rotten. The carcasses were safely disposed of. 

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“Even when pulling those suckers with the skid steer, they were locked together until one of their antler tines broke, and that freed them up,” Gocke told Cowboy State Daily. One of the bull’s antlers measured 45 inches across, while the other stretched 50 inches.