You are here

Grand Teton National Park Might Preserve For Educational Purposes Mule Deer Head With Atypical Antlers

Mule deer buck, Grand Teton National Park

This mule deer buck, which sported an atypical set of antlers that had more tines on side than the other, was discovered dead in the park on January 8. NPS photo.

A big mule deer buck that gained renown around Grand Teton National Park not just for its overall size, but also for its unusual antler configuration, has died of natural causes and has been recovered by rangers.

Park rangers, along with Wyoming Game and Fish Department personnel, conducted an investigation into the deer's death. They concluded the buck died sometime on January 8 as a result of physical injuries. Its body was found along the Gros Ventre River near the park’s southern boundary.

While the natural death of an animal inside of a national park can be expected, this individual deer wore an atypical set of antlers -- one side had more tines than the other, and the spread of the antlers was estimated at 40 inches -- that brought particular attention and admiration from visitors and local residents alike.

Park rangers regularly saw this unusual buck on their routine patrols. On December 28, the buck appeared to be injured. Consequently for the next 10 days, rangers tracked its movements more consistently. The deer bedded down near the Gros Ventre River on Monday, January 7, and apparently died sometime the next day.

The ensuing investigation determined that at some point the deer suffered a broken bone in a lower front leg. An infection developed, causing further damage to the deer’s hoof. This significantly compromised the health of the animal and was the essential factor in its death, park biologists determined. The investigation also revealed that none of the mule deer’s injuries were consistent with a gunshot wound.

Due to the unique nature of the buck’s antlers, Grand Teton National Park will consider preserving its head and antlers for appropriate educational display.


OMG...there is little in this article pertaining to the park's involvement which resembles the truth...I am embarrassed for Grand Teton National Park to be so desperate as to promote such lies.

Tim-- I think most of us would appreciate you elaborating on your statement?

Ms. or Mr. gutz54 and us:

The Wyoming Game & Fish Department (WGFD) deserves the credit not Grand Teton Nation Park (GTNP). It was the WGFD that notified Grand Teton National Park of the death of this amazing creature, provided the park with definitive directions to the carcass and communicated the importance of recovering the lame front leg rumored to be a gun shot wound. It was the WGFD that understood the sigifiance of investigating the possible gun shot injury and recovering the skull and antlers (value in the thousands) before poachers recovered same. A Grand Teton National Park ranger attempting to find the carcass was observed wandering the highways in the dark and ultimately was lead to the carcass site. The ranger did remove and take possession of the head (skull & antlers) but as discovered the following late morning had failed to secure and/or take possession of the carcass for investigation. The WGFD after receiving (not from the GTNP) the injured leg immediately provided the leg to a respected local DVM for xrays, examination and investigation. The result of the investigation is accurately post above.

Everyone that reads this should contact Grand Teton National Park Superintendent Mary Gibson Scott ([color=#0066cc][email protected][/color]) and Western Regional Director John Wessels ([color=#0066cc][email protected][/color]) to insure that the skull and antlers of this magnificent creature is made available for the public to appreciate along with a sampling of the thousands of photographs taken during it's life over several years. By all rights and credits the skull and antlers should be provided to the Wyoming Game & Fish Department for display, education and security.

Tim, thanks for the real story :D

Over the past three years I have had the opportunity to photograph this great buck as Tim has, we were lucky to have one like this around. I too am glad it appears to be a natural death many of us have feared for years someone would poach him.

It was rumored he had been hit by car or shoot with a twenty two, a lower leg break would be more indicative of steping in a hole. A friend of mine had been looking for him when he saw a wolf in the river bottom area where the buck was often found, the following day the buck had the limp. I am guessing he may have stepped in a hole while taking hasty evasive action away from the wolf. I was always hoping this buck would have a natural end and he did.

I wrote a blog post about my three years photographing this buck.

A trophy buck ~ through the years.

Add comment


This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.

National Parks Traveler's Essential Park Guide