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COFFEY COUNTY, Kansas — It’s not unusual for deer and other large animals to fight during the rut, as dominant males and younger contenders battle for mates and territory. Serious injuries can result, and in rare cases, the combatants’ antlers become permanently locked together.
A recently released video shows a game warden in Kansas helping to free a pair of entangled bucks — and his method is definitely unique.
According to a report from The Wichita Eagle, the man in the video is Lynn Koch, a warden with the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism. Koch and another warden, Brad Hageman, encountered the entangled bucks late last year.
“For one thing, they weren’t locked head to head, they were kind of locked side by side, so they could really move,” Koch told The Wichita Eagle. “We chased them for probably over a mile. They could run faster than we could. We followed them across creeks, through trees and fields.”
From his experience as a warden, Koch knew the situation could easily come to a grim conclusion. Exhausted from the struggle, bucks with entangled antlers often die of exhaustion or are killed by coyotes. Koch said he has actually seen coyotes eat a dead buck while another buck, locked in its antlers, dragged it around and tried to escape.
After discussing the situation with his partner, Koch decided the best solution would be to try to shoot the antlers. If he could strike the area where they were locked, both bucks would be freed.
From about 20 feet away, Koch drew his .45 Glock. “All right, boys, hold still,” he said in the video, before firing a single shot.
Incredibly, the tactic worked. Both bucks sprang to their feet and went their separate ways, leaving a fractured portion of antler behind.
The video was recently posted on the Kansas Wildlife, Parks and Tourism game wardens’ Facebook page, where it has generated a lot of positive attention.
“Some really cool body camera footage of one of our game wardens separating locked together bucks by shooting the antler on one of the bucks,” reads the video’s description. “These guys are free to fight again next autumn. Great shot, sir!”