WATCH: Man cuts antlers, sets tangled bucks free in viral video
EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU/Gray News) – A video of a Wisconsin man cutting loose two tangled-up bucks is going viral with more than 20 million views on social media.
While on a casual drive back in December, 90-year-old Everett Sluga spotted something he’d never seen before.
“I got to where we’re standing right now and I thought I saw a back of a deer,” Sluga told WEAU. “I turned around and I couldn’t understand why that deer didn’t move and then I turned and saw two bucks locked up.”
Two white-tailed bucks had their racks stuck together and could not break free. Sluga made the owners of the farmland, Troy Rebarchek and his wife Tammy, aware of the situation.
“They were in the creek down here and she actually jumped them up and they got out in the CRP field and I told her right away there was no saving them in the field, we had to get them in the woods,” Troy Rebarchek said. “So, we kind of made a little drive and got them in woods, which is where they kind of got locked down, they couldn’t move, which is where we saved their lives.”
Rebarchek and his wife are hunters themselves but decided not to harvest the deer even though it was still hunting season.
“I just didn’t feel it was right shooting them in the situation they were in,” Troy Rebarchek said. “It just didn’t feel ethical to me and I actually had my bow on them and I pulled back on them and I looked at Tammy and I said ‘I can’t shoot these deer.’”
Instead, he grabbed his Milwaukee Grinder out the back of his truck, cutting one antler off each of the bucks and setting them free.
“It’s the only tool I had in my truck,” Troy Rebarchek said. “It isn’t the right tool for the job, but we didn’t have time. I just feared for both the deer’s death.”
In the spirit of a fair chase, Jon King, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Hunter Education Administrator and Conservation Warden, praised Troy Rebarchek’s actions.
“This guy allowed them to enjoy a little bit of life and participate in an ethical and responsible way as a hunter,” King said. “So, I’m happy that he did. It’s a good story and good to see and hear.”
If he had to do it all over again, Troy Rebarchek says he wouldn’t change a thing.
“I’m a hundred percent positive we made the right decision by saving them rather than shooting them,” he said.
Troy Rebarchek says he has since seen the one-antlered deer from time to time, and they look healthy.
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