Billy Williams found two dead bucks in woods north of Caledonia in 1992.
They were big deer — one was a nine-point, the other an 11-point. When Williams stumbled across them, they were laying on the ground with their antlers hooked together. Clearly, the whitetails died fighting one another.
Williams, who lives in rural Lowndes County, told a few friends about the find. They told some friends, who told their friends. On Jan. 5, 1992, The Dispatch published a story. Outdoorsmen were fascinated by Williams’ discovery. Soon, Williams’ telephone was ringing so much he stopped answering.
Worried that someone would steal the intertwined antlers, which he viewed as a prized possession, Williams hid them on his property. For about a decade, only he knew their location.
Then he decided to have the antlers mounted and hauled them to a Golden Triangle taxidermist and left them. Not long later, in 2001, a tornado struck the area, destroying the taxidermist’s office. Everything, including Williams’ antlers, were lost.
Someone, though, found the antlers in the rubble and Williams retrieved them. They were no longer hooked. Williams laid them in his living room.
He lives on a road off Highway 12 and not long after he got them back, they were stolen. In an interview with The Dispatch on Tuesday, Williams declined to say who, but he eventually got them back.
He took them back to the taxidermist who originally was going to mount them, but he went out of business. They sat in an attic, Williams said, for another 10 years.
On Dec. 14, 2014, Williams retrieved them.
He took them to Wildlife Taxidermy in Reform, Alabama, where John Paul Andresen and his daughter, Karen Elizabeth, finally, two-plus decades after Williams stumbled across them, mounted the antlers.
This week, Williams, a bachelor who lives with a dog named “Rebel,” hooked the antlers back together as best he could and hung them on his living room wall. He had to move some other mounts to make room.
He also sat down in his home and wrote a three-page story about the antlers’ saga.
“I’m getting up there in age,” the 66-year-old Williams told The Dispatch, “and I want to pass along what I know.”
William Browning was managing editor for The Dispatch until June 2016.
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