Hunter downs ‘locked’ buck
Wyocena, Wis. — How many bowhunters spend time thinking about their chances of bagging two bucks with just one arrow?
That thought never occurred to Pete Reinke, but that’s what happened to him earlier this bow season.
The 64-year-old hunter, who lives in Madison but is building a house in Columbia County, was working on his new home Sept. 28 when he decided to go out and take a look around from the vantage point of his hunting stands. He didn’t take his bow along – he just wanted to see what he could see.
It was a crisp 31 degrees when he climbed into a stand and opened the windows. He soon saw a big doe and two fawns.
Then to his right he saw what appeared to be a large buck. It appeared to try to raise its head, and all Reinke could see were antlers. He then realized he was looking at two deer heads, but didn’t understand why.
“I climbed down to check it out, and the one buck literally picked the other buck up off the ground and tried to make two jumps,” he said.
Reinke determined the two bucks had been sparring and got their antlers locked together. One buck was dead, and the buck that was alive was struggling under the weight of the dead buck.
“I was so excited to see the two 8-point bucks, yet felt remorse for the dead buck,” Reinke said. “I realized the two deer were locked up and I had to do something.”
He quickly went back to the house to get his bow. He walked back to the two deer and released an arrow that went through the heart of the live buck. Then he had to decide what to do.
He called his son, Marc, to tell him about it and ask him to call a DNR conservation warden.
Warden Paul Nadolski came to the scene and tagged the second dead deer, allowing Reinke to keep it. Reinke paid $20 for the salvage tag for the dead deer. He used his archery carcass tag on the buck that he shot.
Reinke said he was excited to see the two bucks locked together. He doesn’t believe the dead deer was dead long. The live buck was strong, but exhausted, he said.
The bucks had matted down marsh grass in a 20-foot circle where they’d been sparring, or had become entangled. Both were big animals, with Reinke estimating one at around 200 pounds and the other about 180.
Nadolski said he thinks one could have been a 21⁄2-year-old and the other a 31⁄2-year-old or older buck.
It took the two Reinkes and Nadolski to lift both bucks – still locked together – into his truck.
“This is something that does happen, but it is a rarity,” Nadolski said. “Mr. Reinke was very excited. I helped him and his son get the deer onto their trailer and sold him an accountable tag to possess the other dead deer that was locked with the live deer that he legally shot and tagged. The last time I was involved with locked deer antlers such as this was about three years ago.”
Reinke spent about an hour and a half caping out both deer and plans to have them mounted.
The heads are in his freezer with the antlers locked together. “You couldn’t pull them apart if you tried,” he said.
Reinke said he’s seen a lot of deer this fall. A week earlier he’d been in his son’s stand at around 5:30 p.m. and watched 11 deer walk out of a cornfield. He said it was neat to watch the fawns chasing each other. Then he saw a nice 8-point buck.
He estimates that by the end of the evening he’d seen 19 deer. At other times he’s seen a trio of deer, with the largest being a 10-pointer that he estimates had a 20-inch spread. Another 10-pointer appeared to have a 16-inch spread.
Reinke works in the firearms department at Dick’s Sporting Goods at East Towne Mall in Madison. He’s the inventor of the Turkey Pete movable turkey decoy.