The story behind the dead deer in this Internet photo has more spirals than a honey-baked ham.
In fact, Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) biologist and WMA manager Carl Wirwa confirmed in all his years with the Agency, he had never heard a deer hunting tale with more spins than this one.
The deer, reported to score in the high 170s to 180s on the Boone and Crockett scale was shot on private land in Dyer County, Tennessee, near the community of Lenox. Granted, a deer of this caliber would have caused a stir regardless, but this one, well, in the end it’s a tale more fit for a blender (on high speed) than a stir stick.
Supposedly, several local folks had seen the monster in the region. And it is West Tennessee Delta ground, which is wide open with the exception of the nearby Mississippi River Bluff, so several visuals were no surprise. And as a result several were reportedly hunting it.
One lady in the community is even reported to have recorded a couple of years’ worth of photos of the buck on a trail camera. (Capturing photos of deer and other wildlife on trail camera is a hobby of hers.)
So with several out to get it, it was no surprise that eventually the buck met up with someone’s bullet later in first segment of the Tennessee rifle season.
As it turns out the fellow that shot it, did not have the required license (or so he thought). So he got a relative to tag it in.
As is the nature of big bucks, especially those of this caliber, it became a phenomenon virtually the moment it hit the ground, via mobile phones, digital images, etc.
People were waiting at the checking station, some reported. And then, with the Internet, word spread and spread some more. The person in most photos taken at the checking station and shared on the World Wide Web, by the way, did NOT shoot the deer.
Eventually, some money was even reportedly offered for the rack. (How much, depends upon who you talk to.)
But with money and fame entering the picture (especially the money), the wife of the fellow that originally shot the buck, reportedly asked her husband, “Why are you letting so-and-so take credit for a buck, YOU shot?”
What followed was a disagreement between relatives, a bit of brawling (read family feud) and perhaps pending assault charges, with the sheriff’s department even becoming involved.
The TWRA got wind of it all and the deer head was confiscated.
And the twists continued.
TWRA officer Ronnie Capps investigated the situation--that was mounting and then some by now.
And lo and behold, it was then discovered that the original shooter of the buck, the real trigger man, had not needed a license in the first place. As it turns out he was a tenant on the property where the deer was shot. According to State Law, this nullified his need for a license in the first place. However, by this time the bullet had left the barrel, so to speak. He had already had someone else, his relative, tag it in.
So in the end, charges and fines for falsifying the tagging of a deer, were dished out to both parties—the guy that shot the deer, and the relative that tagged it in—and the buck was to be returned to the rightful owner as of December 10, 2009.
Now WHO, exactly, that “owner” is going to be is yet to be determined (at this time). Most likely the buck will go to the person that shot it—the legal trigger man, who wasn’t sure at the time whether he not he was the legal.
In conclusion, all I can come up with is this:
“Oh, what a tangled web we weave, when we practice to deceive.”
Evidently that applies to all of us, deer hunters included.