A group of hunters in Faulk County got a two-for-one deal after finding two bucks locking antlers.

Roy Heintzman hosted a group of 12 hunters from Hartford on his land near Onaka in November, the Aberdeen American News reported .

The group has been hunting on Heintzman's land for more than 20 years, he wrote in a note to the American News.

Duane Miles of Hartford said he dropped off a group of hunters on one side of a field before driving to the other end to wait for them. As he waited, he spotted a buck and a second deer he couldn't make out.

He said the group of hunters actually walked by the deer before his son spotted them. Then, his son hollered to Joe Blocker, the only hunter in the group with a buck tag, to wait to shoot so the buck could get away from the second deer, believed to be a doe, Miles said.

Blocker, of Hartford, was eventually able to land a shot on the buck, but the animal took off over a hill, Miles said.

That's when Miles saw that it was actually two bucks locked together by the antlers.

He was able to grab his camera out of his pickup and take some photos.

"The funny thing about me taking pictures was after about three or four pictures, a little light bulb goes (off in my head, reminding me that) I can zoom in with this camera. A blind squirrel can find a nut once in a while, and that's what happened to me. They were about a quarter mile away when I took that picture," Miles said.

The two bucks then ran, still locked together, into another person's property, he said.

"They even jumped a fence together," Miles said.

The hunters were supposed to be joined by another small group that day, but the second group was delayed, Miles said.

"They stopped and talked to someone along the road," he said.

One of the hunters in the second group also had a buck tag.

"We called those guys and said, 'Get your butt over here,' then I had to go around and get permission to go on the land," Miles said.

The two groups combined forces to form a 13-man hunting party.

Miles said it took about two hours from when the group first saw the two deer to when it found them again in a slough over a hill.

"We got everyone there and started walking the slough, and I'm looking with my binoculars and all I could see was horns. The other guy that was walking with a buck tag took three or two shots, missed, then he was able to hit him and knock him down. (The bucks) probably ran close to 3 miles together. We had to work the slough to try to find them," Miles said.

Blocker's son-in-law, Cody McMahon, of Humboldt was able to fill his buck tag with the second deer.

"We had quite a few people with us. We got 13 does, then there were four buck tags and they got all four," Miles said of the trip.

He said no one in the group had ever before seen anything quite like the two bucks locked together.

"It was a once-in-a-lifetime thing that we'll probably never see again. Usually people find them dead. The weird thing about this is they were locked from behind and usually they (are) locked from the front. Usually they're fighting forward," Miles said.

He said the deer were both five-point bucks.

Blocker and McMahon took their prizes to Travis Taxidermy in Humboldt to be mounted.

"We didn't unhook them on purpose. There were a couple of war spots on the horns. I don't think they were locked together for a really long time," Miles said.

He said the taxidermist, Jesse Travis, will mount the heads of the bucks in a way that replicates how they were locked together.

The only question remaining is which hunter will get to take home the mount.

"They'll probably share it back and forth and there's a debate," Miles joked. "They both want it at their houses while both of their wives want it at the other guy's place."

Contact Geoff Preston at geoffrey.preston@rapidcityjournal.com

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