Jason Good is a forester who spends a lot of time in nature. However, even that experience didn’t prepare him for what he was to find in November of 2010.
While surveying timber in Miegs County, Ohio, Good noticed something floating in a pond off in that distance, as described in a Facebook post by Brent Sutherland.
“It was close to the road, and I figured somebody had poached a deer,” Good said. “I see dead deer in the woods all the time.
“I almost ignored it,” he added, “until I looked again and saw it was three deer.”
“I sat there 20 minutes just looking at them, totally amazed, and it took that long to sink in what I was looking at,” Good said.
“I thought, ‘If this is really what I think this is then I cannot screw this up.’ I wanted to make sure everything was done by the book so the landowner got to keep these horns.”
Good called the landowner, who couldn’t believe it.
“He said, ‘Brien, I’ve found something on your property I’ve never seen before, and you’ve got to see it,’” landowner Brien Burke recalled. “I’m thinking a murder, a meth lab, who knows? I said, ‘Jason, just tell me what it is.’ He says, ‘It’s three bucks locked up and they’re floating dead in your creek.’”
The three animals had apparently been locked in a battle during the middle of the rut, and with their horns entangled, had all fallen into the pond and drowned.
“I knew it was something special, but I don’t think any of us knew how special until we lifted them out of the water,” Good says. “It was hard to judge the racks all tangled up under water; I thought they were three scrawny deer locked together. When they came up out of the water it made the hair on back of my neck stand up again. Holy cow!”
The three bucks were an 11-pointer, a 10-pointer and a 7-pointer — not small beasts at all.
“I think one deer hit that hole and pulled the other deer into the water and they all drowned together,” Burke said. “Drowning was probably a good thing. The coyotes would have been on them in no time. I imagine they died full force, adrenaline flowing, battling it out.”
“But there’s also a certain sadness that the lives of three nice bucks just ended like that. Three deer that any hunter would have put on the wall and told stories about.”
Mike Tonkovich, deer project leader for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, said that there was a major lesson about nature that everyone could learn from this.
“In today’s deer management world, our interest is in population dynamics or growing big bucks and age structures and so forth, but this takes you back to the basics of deer behavior and, even more simply, evolution and Darwin’s theory of natural selection,” Tonkovich said.
“What you’re seeing here is one buck trying to convince another that I need to pass my genes on and I’m gonna do what it takes to make sure it happens. This is a manifestation of that drive.”
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