Published February 07, 2010, 12:00 AM

Man finds two dead moose with tangled antlers

Tim Bradach was happy when he saw the first moose antler poking out of the snow. Then he noticed a second one. For a shed-antler hunter, a matched pair is a true find.

By: Sam Cook, Duluth News Tribune

Tim Bradach was happy when he saw the first moose antler poking out of the snow. Then he noticed a second one. For a shed-antler hunter, a matched pair is a true find.

Then Bradach, who lives in Gilbert and was shed-antler hunting Jan. 18 near his hunting shack at Brimson, kept finding more antlers.

“The closer I got, I could see there was still a moose attached to one set,” said Bradach, 51. “Then I could see two of them locked together.”

What he found that day were two whole moose whose antlers apparently became locked together as they fought during mating season last fall. Bulls often square off and sometimes fight, but it’s rare for moose antlers to become locked together.

“It looked like the right side of the bigger bull got locked up with the left side of the smaller one,” Bradach said. “There was a triple brow tine on the larger moose, and one of the tines stuck inside the front chest part of the other moose.”

Tragically, with no way to extricate themselves from one another, both moose died.

Bradach began working to remove the antlers from the moose, which turned into quite a project.

“I worked three or four hours by myself the first day,” Bradach said. “I had to come back the next day with a friend and my chain saw and spent another three or four hours.”

After consulting with Department of Natural Resources conservation officers, Bradach obtained a permit allowing him to keep the antlers. If antlers are found on the ground, as most shed antlers are, no permit is necessary. If they’re still attached to an animal, they are technically still property of the state, and a permit must be secured to remove them.

Bradach used a hand-operated winch clamped to a tree to help pull the moose and the antlers apart, he said.

One set of antlers had just under a 48-inch spread, and the other was just over 55 inches, he said. The smaller moose scored an estimated 150 points on the Boone & Crockett antler measuring system, Bradach said. The minimum size for a firearms-killed moose to make the “Minnesota Record Book” published by the Wildlife Heritage Association is 150 inches, but minimum requirements for shed moose antlers are lower. The larger set scored an estimated 170 points, Bradach said. The largest moose sheds listed in the Sixth Edition of the “Minnesota Record Book” are 140 6/8 points.

DNR conservation officer Kipp Duncan said he had never heard of anyone finding two moose with their antlers locked together before Bradach.

Bradach has been shed-antler hunting since the early 1990s. He prefers searching for moose antlers rather than deer antlers.

“I was pretty thrilled when I came across them,” Bradach said. “It’s pretty unheard of to come across moose locked together.”

Bradach took the antlers home and cleaned them up. He isn’t sure how he will mount or display them.

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