By Mark Nauman
The author, left, and his hunting partner, Bob Pickle, were grateful to harvest these locked bucks, which might be considered lucky for a quick ending to their struggle.
Bob and I went hunting at one of his spots on the morning of Dec. 3, 2005. I was a little late getting there, so I was pretty upset with myself. I like to be in my treestand at least 15 minutes before legal light. We entered the woods as day was breaking. When we walked across the power line, we could hear a terrible commotion ahead of us.
As we approached, we could see two bucks fighting about 22 yards distant. Bob and I agreed to shoot the deer closest to one another on the count of three. But after we shot, the bucks continued to battle. We knew we’d made good shots, and then we realized the deer were locked. Neither of us likes to see an animal suffer, so we approached the deer and I used my arrow to put the last one out of its misery.
This was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Bob and I have harvested more than 25 Pope and Young bucks. However, these two are very special. We couldn’t have accomplished this without the other.
In Missouri, you can take one buck before rifle season and one after with your bow. We each had one tag remaining. If we were hunting alone, we could have harvested only one deer, and the other buck would have had to be put down by a conservation agent hours later. There is no doubt that we were together at that spot and time for a reason. God works in mysterious ways.
Both deer are still locked tight. They scored 135 and 138, as 9-pointers. Their necks were huge at 23 and 24 1/2 inches behind the ears. This is something I’m not likely to witness again. I have never seen two mature bucks fighting, much less locked tight!
Author’s Note: Our hunting club members in St. Louis County are also Buckmasters members. Our deer population is as high as 86 deer per square mile, according to the conservation department. These past couple of years, I’ve tried to do my part and harvest as many antlerless deer as possible. And the management seems to be working!
-- Reprinted from the October 2006 issue of Buckmasters Magazine