Rescue
Brave biologist spots two young bucks locked by the antlers and makes moves to save them
It was too late for one of them already but he was determined to help the other one live.
Rebecca Reid
09.06.21

In a viral video, two young bucks are caught in an unfortunate circumstance.

Wildlife Biologist, Zach Willeford, and Wildlife Technician Billy Miles found the two deer with antlers locked together in a marshy meadow.

One of the bucks was clinging to life while the other had sadly already passed away. In the video, a caption warned viewers of the graphic nature of the footage.

YouTube screenshot - Zach Willeford
Source:
YouTube screenshot - Zach Willeford

“What you will see here are the efforts of Wildlife biologist Zach Willeford and Wildlife Technician Billy Miles freeing the live buck. WARNING Some images are graphic as Mother Nature has taken its course.” – YouTube – Zach Willeford

YouTube screenshot - Zach Willeford
Source:
YouTube screenshot - Zach Willeford

It was obvious that the bucks had been stuck for some time.

The one surviving buck was clinging to life and was just waiting for help to arrive. Lucky for him, help did arrive and his life was spared. When Willeford and Miles approached the deer, you can hear one of them say that the surviving deer was around 3 years of age.

‘Whitetail bucks are very aggressive toward one another.’ – dallasnews.com

YouTube screenshot - Zach Willeford
Source:
YouTube screenshot - Zach Willeford

Locking antlers happens unfortunately during fights over a mate or territory.

‘Fights are a common occurrence, though they rarely last more than a few seconds. On rare occasions, bucks get their antlers intertwined in such a way that they cannot get them separated.’ – dallasnews.com

This was one of those rare occurrences but at least one buck had survived the predicament. Willeford and Miles were determined to give the living deer a second chance at life.

YouTube screenshot - Zach Willeford
Source:
YouTube screenshot - Zach Willeford

The video captures Willeford attempting to cut the dead dear’s antler in order to free the remaining deer.

The buck moves away when he hears the noise of the saw.

Carefully and patiently, Willeford keeps approaching the antler to cut it free. It’s hard to tell if the buck senses that Willeford is trying to help but the animal didn’t have much choice but to wait and see. It takes Willeford a few attempts to fully cut the antler free.

YouTube screenshot - Zach Willeford
Source:
YouTube screenshot - Zach Willeford

The weak but resilient buck is finally cut free from his deceased rival.

Willeford eventually cuts through the antler and pushes the deer so the antlers can separate.

At first, the buck doesn’t realize he is free but once he does, he wastes no time making his escape.

YouTube screenshot - Zach Willeford
Source:
YouTube screenshot - Zach Willeford

The buck hobbles away looking weak and drained but alive and free.

According to the Dallas Morning News,

‘Nobody knows how many bucks die locked together but the number is undoubtedly higher on ranches where the herd is balanced between bucks and does and a lot more fights break out. Many large ranches have locked antlers that are often found by cowboys on horseback, deer hunters atop huge trucks that provide good visibility or quail hunters walking through cover away from the road.’ – dallasnews.com

‘Unless humans intervene by cutting antlers to free the deer, locked antlers invariably spell death for both bucks.’ – dallasnews.com
YouTube screenshot - Zach Willeford
Source:
YouTube screenshot - Zach Willeford

Now watch the buck being rescued from the unfortunate situation.

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By Rebecca Reid
hi@sbly.com
Rebecca Reid is a contributor at SBLY Media.
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