Will ‘Buckchucks’ — Nunchucks Made From Deer Legs — Be The Next Martial Arts Weapon Of Choice?

Although 'buckchucks -- nunchucks made from deer legs -- might look like a great western-themed weapon, a Wyoming martial artist said the user would probably just injure themselves.

Mark Heinz

July 23, 20234 min read

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(Cowboy State Daily Staff)

A smack across the skull with a deer hoof might sound like a nasty way to end a fight.

But in reality, the wielder of “buckchucks” — or nunchucks made from deer legs — might just end up hitting themselves, a Wyoming martial artist said.

“I’ve been doing martial arts my entire adult life, and I’ve seen a lot of things come and go,” marital arts instructor Amber Travsky of Laramie told Cowboy State Daily.

“I do traditional weapons, like sia and bows. I would never do nunchucks out of a deer leg. I had not ever heard of that,” she said. “If somebody came into my dojo with those, I would just say, ‘hmmm … what inspired you to do that?’”

Social Media Sensation

Nunchucks are a simple weapon; basically two hard handles connected by a chain. Bruce Lee and Michelangelo the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle made whipping them around them look easy, but they’re actually difficult to master, Travsky said.

She made an enthusiastic go mastering nunchucks when she was young.

“You hurt yourself trying to get into it. You can’t really master it without hitting yourself,” she said. “You can get the handles rubberized to try protecting yourself while you’re learning the skill.”

So, the thought of suffering a self-inflicted wound from a deer hoof while trying to master nunchucks doesn’t exactly sound motivational, Travsky said.

Nevertheless, posting pictures of buckchucks has become increasingly popular on some hunting-centric social media sites. That’s led to quips in the comments sections about cracking a burglar over the head with buckchucks on one hand or “not bringing a deer leg to a gunfight” on the other.

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(Cowboy State Daily Staff)

Would Take Some Taxidermy Skill

Making a set of buckcucks wouldn’t be as simple as sawing the legs off of this fall’s hunting kill and then tapping the ends of the bones for bolts to hold the chain, some Wyoming taxidermists said.

In fact, it wouldn’t be a good idea to use the bones at all, Monte Steward, who works at Nature’s Design Taxidermy in Cody, told Cowboy State Daily.

The untreated deer hide would eventually start to decay, as would the marrow inside the bones, turning the buckchucks in to a rancid mess, he said.

“You would get bugs in there,” he said. “It might take a while, but you would definitely end up with bugs inside.”

The deer fur and hide would have to be carefully skinned off the bones, and then “tanned” and treated against infestation and decay, Steward said.

Synthetic Bone Replacements

The bones could be replaced with forms of synthetic material and shaped like deer legs, taxidermist Steve Werbelow of Powell told Cowboy State Daily. Then, the skin could be stretched back over them.

“I’ve never seen these (buckchucks) before,” said Werbelow, who has been doing taxidermy for decades. “But they make forms for deer feet like that, so it wouldn’t be hard to do.”

Once the fur and hide is attached to the forms, it would be a simple matter of “threading eyebolts into the end to attach the chains to,” Steward said.

Like Werbelow, he said he’s never seen buckchucks or had a customer request a set, at least not yet.

“We’ve had a lot of weird requests come in, but never for a set of these,” Steward said. “Maybe that will change after this year’s deer season.”

Given that taxidermists’ leg forms are probably made from lighter, more delicate material than traditional nunchucks, Travsky said she questions how durable buckchucks would be.

“A regular set of nunchucks, they are pretty heavy. I think they would be denser and heavier than a taxidermy deer leg,” she said.

Mark Heinz can be reached at mark@cowboystatedaily.com.

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Mark Heinz

Outdoors Reporter