The rivalry between Minnesota and Wisconsin residents is real, especially during football season. Whether you bleed purple, or spend Sundays wearing a fake chuck of cheese for a hat, the friendly – but sometimes sharp – verbal barbs come out in full force during fall.
It’s unknown if the players in this current border battle over “The Comstock Buck” are Vikings or Packers fans, but something tells me the hullaballoo is at least partially rooted in a state vs. state sports rivalry that’s been going on for many decades.
Enough beating around the buck brush: The Comstock Buck (photos above) was killed by a Wisconsin driver on Thanksgiving night, around 7 pm, on Highway 63 between the small town of Comstock and the slightly bigger small town of Cumberland. The debate – or battle – centers around who should get to keep the trophy roadkill, the driver of the van who struck the animal, or the Minnesota resident who legally obtained a Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources possession permit for the buck. The van driver didn’t have a cell phone, so instead of stopping to call for help (his van was damaged severely), he drove to the nearest farm and asked for assistance. While he was gone and the dead buck lay on the roadside, a Minnesota driver called the WI DNR and registered the buck.
Unlike some of the hunters mentioned in this detailed story by Star Tribune Outdoor Columnist Dennis Anderson, I never saw The Comstock Buck on the hoof. However, like these hunters, I have spent time on nearby public land that was probably within this buck’s home range.
You see, it just so happens that I’ve spent a major part of my life in this area. My parents have a mailing address of “Comstock, WI,” and each fall I bowhunt private and public land near Comstock. Before my parents moved to the area in retirement, we had a lake cabin there since the early 1970s. On many Sunday mornings during fall, we drive through Comstock heading northbound for church in Cumberland, the exact route taken by the Wisconsin driver who smashed his van into the massive non-typical buck.
As you can read in Anderson’s story, the Minnesota driver has legal claim to the buck. However, if the Wisconsin driver who killed the buck with his van wants the animal, I simply don’t understand why the Minnesota man won’t give it to him. I certainly wouldn’t want a trophy buck mount hanging on my wall – regardless of its size – that someone else killed, especially with a vehicle! The absolute best part of game mounts is the wonderful memories they trigger, and for this Minnesota man, I can’t believe that standing on the side of a wintery road – in the dark – while tension filled the air is his happiest Thanksgiving.
I say give the buck to the driver who killed it, and then he can give it to the town of Comstock. Heck, maybe the owners of the Comstock Creamery/Cheese Factory (below) will display it proudly for all to see. The famous buck probably lived in the woods behind the building. That way, when Vikings or Packers fans stop for their fix of cheese curds, they can see The Comstock Buck and remember when “Minnesota nice” really meant something.