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Combatants caught on digital

Larry Hanson of New London witnessed these two bucks engaged in combat in an open field near the entrance to Sibley State Park on Friday. Submitted photo

NEW LONDON -- Larry Hanson of New London always keeps a compact digital camera at his side and his eyes on the look out for photo opportunities.

He was lucky enough to keep his composure too as he was driving on U.S. Highway 71 near the entrance to Sibley State Park at 10 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 13 and spotted two bucks locked in combat in an open field.

Not just two bucks, but two "wall hangers,'' said Hanson of the big deer.

He calmly pulled over and made his way with the small Canon camera towards the deer.

For a time, he was able to watch the rut-season combat first hand. Hanson said he thought at first that the two bucks had locked antlers, but that was not so. They engaged their antlers and Hanson heard the distinctive rattle as the antlers scraped and pulled against each other. Each deer tried to use his antlers to twist and flip the other animal.

Both were big-bodied bucks. Both showed blood and visible wounds from their engagement. The smaller of the two clearly showed the worse for the battle, with more blood and wounds to be seen, he said.

Hanson could not count the tines on the intertwined and constantly moving antlers. He continued to slowly make his way to the scene of the battle with his camera and captured a sequence of shots. He was about 20 yards away when the two warriors spotted him and scrambled.

Even then, their animosity had the better of them. As they dashed away, the smaller of the buck continued to attempt to poke the larger with his antlers from behind.

Tom Cherveny

Tom Cherveny is a regional and outdoor reporter with the West Central Tribune in Willmar, MN.

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