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Published November 15 2010

Hunter shoots one deer, finds 21 antler points

BEMIDJI, Minn. – The bucks are definitely in the rut north of Lake Plantagenet, and Dave Tisdell of Bemidji discovered first-hand Nov. 8 how serious the battles for male dominance in the deer world can be.

Tisdell was walking through the woods when he spotted a deer in a swamp about 70 yards away. The animal’s head was hidden by brush, but Tisdell had an antlerless permit, so he thought he would fill his tag.

The shot was true, and the deer fell.

“When I walked up to where I had shot the deer, there were two of them on the ground,” Tisdell said. “I hit my deer through the lungs, but there was another deer next to it.”

Tisdell’s deer proved to be a 10-point buck while its companion had 11 points. What was unusual about the two deer is that their antlers were locked, and the 11-pointer was dead before Tisdell spotted them.

At some point, the deer sparred for dominance, and during the battle, their antlers became entangled to the point where they would not separate. Tisdell believes that during the struggle to free themselves, the 11-pointer broke its neck, and the 10-pointer was destined to drag its companion wherever it went.

Conservation officer Paul Parthun, who visited the scene after being contacted by Tisdell, said that he had heard of bucks locking horns to the death before but that such an occurrence is very rare.

The 11-point buck had been dead for at least a few days, and the meat was not salvageable. Tisdell did, however, keep the head for a possible future mount.

Pat Miller is a writer for the Grand Forks Herald