Video: Wisconsin Crossbow Hunter Frees Locked Whitetail Bucks

The hunter could legally have shot either buck, but instead he set them both free.

Video: Wisconsin Crossbow Hunter Frees Locked Whitetail Bucks

The words “fair chase” mean different things to different people. Sure, our game laws try to define fair chase to some degree, and the major record keeping organizations such as Pope and Young and the Boone and Crockett Club take it a step further with guidelines for fair chase.

In the YouTube video below, you’ll see crossbow hunter Troy Rebarchek as he encounters two mature whitetail bucks with locked antlers in western Wisconsin. Per state regulations, Troy could tag one of the bucks with his crossbow license, but not both. That said, his wife, Tami, is also a hunter and had an unfilled archery tag, so together they could have killed both bucks. Instead of shooting the bucks, however, the couple decides to trade crossbows for angle grinder and cut both bucks free.

Make no mistake: This is dangerous work. Thankfully the bucks remain still enough for Troy to safely complete cutting the locked antlers, and as you’ll see, both animals run away and appear to be okay. Tami records it all on her smartphone.

As stated previously, Troy and Tami could have legally killed the bucks, but they didn’t. To them, it wouldn’t have been fair chase. Troy told a news reporter: "I just didn't feel it was right shooting them in the situation they were in. It just didn't feel ethical to me. I looked at Tami and said, 'I can't shoot these deer.' "

Kudos to Troy and Tami for giving these locked bucks another lease on life. And who knows; maybe the husband and wife team will get a crack at one of them during the 2022 archery deer season when each buck is even bigger.


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