“I can’t tell you for certain what happened here, but I can offer a plausible sequence of events that might explain the odd perpetual face-off this deer finds himself in.
During the rut (mating season for deer) testosterone pretty much runs the show, and one of the main features of the rut is the jousting match between bucks, where the winners of these matches secure the right to mate with the available females.
The bucks are so amped up that they will lock antlers with any other buck, including dead ones. I’m almost certain that’s what happened here – the disembodied deer was already dead and in an advanced state of decay, which made it easy to relieve the head of its body.
Another possible situation has the two live deer locked in proper, and for one reason or another the now-bodiless deer died in combat, but remained locked to the still living buck.
This would suggest that the living deer had to lug the dead one around for a while before it was able to shed roughly 90% of that weight via decomposition.”
My guess is that the first deer was already dead… but who really knows?