When a Minnesota DNR conservation officer found two trophy whitetail deer with their antlers locked together in battle, one animal—a 10-point—had already succumbed to injury and exhaustion.

The larger combatant–an enormous 14-point buck–remained feisty and full of life, though the CO Greg Oldakowski knew that dragging around the weight of another deer for any period of time would eventually prove fatal to the beast.

He also knew he had to act quickly if he was going to save the life of the big bruiser, and there was no way he could physically intervene and separate the animals with his bare hands.

Doug Smith, the longtime outdoors scribe for the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, reported yesterday that Oldakowski, 38, an expert marksman, pulled out his .40 caliber service handgun and shot two tines off the smaller deer’s rack, effectively freeing the 14-point.

After waiting while the big deer stopped thrashing around, Oldakowski fired his first shot from about 15 feet, instantly severing one tine from the dead deer’s rack.

He aimed for another tine, shot, and missed, Smith wrote.

“I was just squeezing the trigger when he moved and I just about shot him,” he said. “He thrashed around some more, then I got another clear shot,” (breaking off a second tine). “He cracked her loose and away he went.”

Oldakowski estimated the dead deer weighed approximately 180 pounds, with the larger one going at least 200.

With shooting prowess like that, it should come as no surprise that Oldakowski is a member of the agency’s award-winning pistol team, which has taken top honors in multi-state competition five consecutive years.

“If I didn’t have confidence in my handgun skills, I wouldn’t have tried it,” he said.

How about it, Newshound readers? I consider myself somewhat competent with a pistol, but blasting the tines off a deer rack at 15 feet—under pressure, to boot—is darn good shootin’ in my book. Would you agree?