Crushed: North Carolina Buck Expires Via Downed Tree

This shed-hunting excursion quickly took a turn nobody could see coming.

Crushed: North Carolina Buck Expires Via Downed Tree
What Dusty Pratt assumed to be a whitetail shed lying next to a downed tree turned out to be something else entirely. These photos show the remains of a whitetail skeleton that was pressed into the ground under the weight of the fallen tree. Astonishingly, the tree fell directly in the center of the 8-point rack. (Photos courtesy of Dusty Pratt)

Dusty Pratt and his canine companion were exploring the woods near their home in East Bend, North Carolina, on March 28, 2017. When Dusty stopped for a moment to rest, he made a strange discovery.

At first, the avid hunter was excited to see what looked to be a shed antler resting beside a fallen tree. But as he walked closer to get a better look, he was shocked to see not one but two antlers wedged into the ground. They were wrapped perfectly around the sides of the tree trunk.

When Dusty examined the scene more closely, it became obvious the antlers weren’t sheds. Instead, the 8-point rack was still attached to a skull plate that was pressed beneath the fallen tree.

Dusty returned with a chainsaw to investigate his find. After sawing apart the fallen tree, he discovered the skeletal remains of a buck pressed into the ground. As best Dusty could tell, the tree somehow had fallen directly between the buck’s antlers, crushing him and then pinning him to the ground. Against all odds, only one antler tip had been slightly damaged from the weight of the crashing timber.


Dusty notes that several other downed trees were scattered along the creek bank where he found the buck. He guesses these other blowdowns must have occurred around the same time, clearly during a harsh storm. Dusty says finding the buck was a “one in a billion” occurrence, and he’s probably not far from right about that.


It seems there’s no end to the mysterious, abnormal things people find while exploring Mother Nature’s haunts. Life in the wild is raw and brutal, and danger is always lurking. Whether it’s by a predator’s fang and claw or by some other random occurrence, wild animals expire from natural causes every day. The crushed North Carolina buck found by Dusty Pratt is just another example of how unexpected the end can be.

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