Legendary Triple Drop Tine Buck Dies

triple_drop_tine_buckA buck that had become a sort of local celebrity due to its phenomenal size and the tree huge drop tines hanging from its rack, has died, falling victim to brutal winter weather.

While the rack on “Triple Drop Tine” or TD as the local Minnesota residents called him was impressive, what made the buck even more unique was that such a widely observed, photographed and filmed deer managed to elude hunters, and one would even think some poachers, during its 8 ½ years of life. This was no high-fence, pen-raised animal, but a free-ranging whitetail.

The deer lived in the Yucatan Valley area and had been filmed by at least a couple of camera crews with outdoor television shows and had hunters traveling from as far away as Florida to try hunting him.

In the summers, the buck could regularly be spotted in Matt Semling’s food plot behind his house, feeding in plain view of the road.

“Any day out of the summer, starting right away in June when I was on my way home from work, I would always know when he was in my food plot because there would be between five and fifteen vehicles pulled over on the road,” Semling told Greg Schieber for the Caledonia Argus.

“He’d show himself all the time when not being hunted,” he said.

But once hunting season opened, the buck would disappear. Semling, a hunter, told Schieber that a week before bow season started each year, he would go in to pull his trail cameras out.

“Me being in there 10 minutes was all it took to turn him nocturnal. He must have known the bowhunting season was close. Time after time I’d see him during the hunting season but the only time was when I was in my truck going down the driveway. He was a super smart buck,” Semling said. Friends of the landowner traveled from all over, but never had any better luck. At least 20 to 25 people hunted Semling’s property or the surrounding properties each year and every year, they returned without TD.

The deer was discovered dead behind a barn Semling was about to burn Feb. 7. The landowner called local DNR Conservation Officer Scott Fritz to report the find and secure a permit for its possession. The two went over the body looking for wounds that would indicate it had been shot by a bullet or hit by an arrow, but found nothing. It also had no broken bones, such as those suffered from being hit by a vehicle.

Fritz reasoned that the buck — which was a single tine buck at 3 ½, a double-tine buck at 5 ½ and grew the third tine at the age of 7 ½ —must have died of natural causes. Since it is not evidence in a poaching case nor can be claimed by another hunter, Semling becomes the owner of the local legend, which gross scored 181 inches. 

To read Schieber’s complete article at the Caledonia Argus, click here.

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