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Scott M

14 pointer lives for another day thanks to sharpshooter C.O.

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Rack up this deer's second chance at life to a good sharpshooter

by Doug Smith

Star Tribune

The antlers of the two trophy bucks -- a big 10-pointer and a bigger 14-pointer -- were locked in a death grip after a battle that already had claimed the life of the smaller whitetail.

When bucks battle for dominance -- and breeding rights for does each fall -- the fights can be deadly.

When conservation officer Greg Oldakowski arrived in the woods north of Wadena on Sunday, the live deer was dragging his dead sparring partner out of a small wetland.

The smaller deer likely weighed about 180 pounds and appeared to have been dead a couple of days, Oldakowski said Tuesday. The 14-pointer probably weighed more than 200 pounds, and was still very much alive despite its ordeal.

"He was all full of fire yet," Oldakowski said. "There was no way I was going to get close to him. He was thrashing and throwing that 10-pointer around like a rag doll."

So Oldakowski, 38, an expert marksman, pulled out his .40 caliber pistol.

Not to put the big buck out of its misery -- to try to free it by shooting the tines off the dead deer.

The landowner who discovered the pair and called Oldakowski asked him not to hit the live deer's antlers. After all, the regular deer season opens Saturday.

"I said I'll see what I can do," Oldakowski said.

From about 15 feet, he waited for the deer to stop thrashing, then fired, blasting one tine off the dead deer.

The live buck's response?

"He went kind of crazy," Oldakowski said. "The rack got a little bit loose then; before it was so tight it wouldn't even rattle."

So he aimed for another tine, shot twice, and missed. He prepared to shoot again.

"I was just squeezing the trigger when he moved and I just about shot him," he said. "He thrashed around some more, then I got another clear shot," and fired, breaking off a second tine. "He cracked her loose and away he went."

It was one of the biggest deer he's ever seen. "He was going to die had something not been done. It was certainly worth the try. It was really nice to see him go."

Oldakowski, who has been a conservation officer for six years, was the right officer for the job. He's a member of the DNR's conservation officer pistol team, which, for the fifth consecutive year, won an annual multi-state competition earlier this fall.

"If I didn't have confidence in my handgun skills, I wouldn't have tried it," he said.

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Quite the story. I always thought locked antler bucks were rare, but I seem to read a couple stories about it happening in MN somewhere each year.

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Would have loved to see some pics of those 2 locked up.

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That's one heck of a shot!

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Very Cool! grin.gif

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With a pistol, that is impressive.

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