MOLINE, Illinois — A routine drive into work last weekend took an unexpected turn for Veronica Winchester.
Just before noon on Saturday, October 28, Winchester had arrived at the construction site of the new I-74 bridge when she noticed a woman flagging down cars and directing drivers’ attention to something nearby.
What she saw next prompted her to grab her phone and jump out of her truck to begin filming: Two bucks, butting racks and fighting in the woods, were making their way out into the street.
Winchester said other drivers stopped and watched from their cars while she caught the whole thing on tape.
Ed Cross of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources noted that it is the height of the “rutting” season for whitetail deer in Illinois. During this mating season, male deer are highly charged with testosterone and very single-minded and aggressive.
“Right now, bucks have one thing on their mind and that is Mrs. Doe,” Cross said.
Butting racks, stomping the ground and otherwise battling is how bucks declare that any does In their territory are theirs’ alone. If two are in the same area and there is a doe in heat, displays like the one Winchester caught on camera are common.
“They’re very competitive, like dudes playing fantasy football,” he said.
Antlers can actually become so entangled that both deer can get caught together and die of starvation, he added, noting that the IDNR has such a display at their offices.
“It can happen, but it’s very rare,” he said.
Fortunately for the bucks in the video, Winchester says they never fully locked antlers.
She said she observed the bucks take off into the construction site before re-entering the woods, continuing the fight.