The moment a police officer used his gun to shoot the antlers of two bucks who had become entangled together in order to free them has been caught on camera.

The bucks were seen engaged in a fierce duel that left them 'locking horns', literally. An Illinois Department of Natural Resources Conservation Police Officer, a State Trooper and a Will County Forest Preserve Officer all attended the scene.

It takes one of the police officers four shots before the antlers break free.

One deer is seen quickly dashing away while the other is more badly injured, but both escape the situation.

An email to the Daily Mail said: "Illinois Department of Natural Resources law enforcement officers are periodically alerted to these types of instances. While not common, it happens.

"Fights among male deer are common and occasionally their antlers become entangled.

Sometimes the deer are able to free themselves...sometimes not, and in those instances we have found deer that become locked together and perish before someone comes along to find and possibly free them."

The video received a mixed reaction after it was uploaded to the department's Facebook page, with some suggesting the officer should have comforted the animals before shooting, while others praised him for saving their lives.

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