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2 DNR Officers Free Bucks By Shooting Their Antlers

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(credit: Minnesota Department of Natural Resources)

(credit: Minnesota Department of Natural Resources)

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WARREN, Minn. (WCCO) — Two DNR conservation officers in two different Minnesota counties recently used an unusual method to free two stuck deer: They shot the deers’ antlers.

On Dec. 28, 2011, conservation officer Jeremy Woinarowicz, of Thief River Falls, received a call that two bucks were locked together by their antlers in a field near Warren, Minn. in Polk County. When he arrived, he noticed the larger buck had already died and the living buck was frantically trying to break free.

“I didn’t know if the buck that was still alive would survive the stress of roping, hog tying and sawing of antlers, so I decided to use the ‘Oldakowski Method,’” he said.

Woinarowicz said he recalled that another conservation officer, Greg Oldakowski, used his sidearm to shoot the antlers and free two bucks that were locked together.

He then used his sidearm to shoot multiple tines off of each of the bucks, but it wasn’t enough to free them. So, he grabbed his duty shotgun, which did work.

“The antlers flew apart and the live buck bounded away with one antler attached, and lived to fight another day,” Woinarowicz said.

Then, on Tuesday in Cook County, conservation officer Darin Fagerman, of Grand Marais, received a call of a buck with its antlers wrapped up in hammock.

“It was dark and the deer was extremely tangled in the hammock, but the buck was still on its feet and able to move,” Fagerman said.

Fagerman and the caller approached the animal, but were unable to free it without the possibility of being injured by the deer.

Fagerman shot at the deer, but missed when the deer moved.

“The gunshot startled the buck, which then pulled straight back on the hammock, exposing about two inches of the antler just above the base of the head,” Fagerman said. “Thankfully, the buck stayed still and I was then able to shoot the antler off. The deer, wasting no time, then ran off into the darkness.”

Fagerman added that conservation officers never know what they may encounter.

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