Refuting 'keyboard cowboys,' Wis. man verifies authenticity of famous entangled bucks
Last week's column about a buck entangled with the antlers of another buck with only the head remaining near Walhalla, N.D., prompted an email from Grant Ubl of Waupaca, Wis., who shared a similar story.
In the case of Ubl's story, a hunter even managed to track down and shoot the buck entangled with the head of a long-dead buck.
Ubl's story, which he wrote but never published, involves a buck Ed Hall of Glidden, Wis., tracked down and killed with a bow in December 1984 after hearing a report at a local gas station from a trucker who'd seen the buck cross the highway a few miles down the road, its antlers entangled with the head of another buck.
Glidden is about 2 hours southeast of Duluth near the eastern boundary of Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest.
As Ubl writes in his story, Hall was able to track the buck through 8 inches of snow, getting to within about 35 feet of the deer when he jumped it after a half-mile walk.
The buck charged and chased Hall about 20 yards after his first shot before turning back into the swamp, Ubl writes in his story.
It took some doing, Ubl writes, but Hall finally managed to arrow and kill the buck.
Managers from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources who later saw the 10-point, 195-pound buck said it killed the other buck and severed the head with its hooves. Judging by the sunken eyes and the condition of what remained of the cape, the disembodied buck had been dead several weeks, Ubl writes in his story.
The United Press International news service also published a story about the Hall buck dated Dec. 8, 1984.
The head of the disembodied buck had 19 points and measured 19½ inches wide, Ubl said. Both bucks qualified for Pope and Young, the official record keeper for deer and other big game animals taken by archery, he writes.
Ubl, 63, who was a sales rep for American Archery at the time, said Hall had the heads of the entangled bucks mounted, and the racks were stars of the show at Whitetail Classic events across Wisconsin, Minnesota and Michigan.
The unusual mount even may have been displayed at a show in the Dakotas, he said.
"At one time, it was the single most talked about whitetail in the country," Ubl said in an email. "People came from miles around wherever we were doing an open house for the archery dealers in the Midwest, just to see the deer they'd read about in the magazines."
The mounted heads, while impressive, left people wanting to see the bucks as they were described in the numerous stories written about the encounter, Ubl writes in his story.
So, several years later, a taxidermist offered to do a full body mount of the deer, "complete with the rotting-appearing cape and sunken white eyes," Ubl writes.
The mount was displayed at the D&D Bar in downtown Glidden, Ubl said. In a word, he said, the mount was awesome.
Unfortunately, the bar burned down a few years ago, and the mount was destroyed, Ubl said.
"All that remained in the charred ruins of the bar were a few fragments of antler and the hooves of what was a very beautiful animal with a colorful history," he wrote in his story.
In his email, Ubl said he can verify the story of the Hall buck is "110 percent factual," incredible though it might seem to the social media skeptics he refers to as "keyboard cowboys and armchair know-it-all hunters."
In fact, Ubl says, Facebook comments questioning the authenticity of the buck photos near Walhalla are what prompted him to write me in the first place.
In the process, he shared one heck of a story.
"I tell that story to the 25- to 30-year-old kids today, and they look at me like I'm from Venus," Ubl said.