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Was This Strange Deer a Buck, Doe, or a Hermaphrodite?

When Brandon Macera shot a strange-looking 13-point buck in Central New York, he had no idea just how bizarre the deer was. The deer had antlers covered in velvet and its male genitalia was smaller than normal.

“It’s a freak of nature. It was an odd-looking rack on this deer. I’ve never seen anything like it,” said Ed Tanguay, of Marsh Mill Ranch in Kirksville, who processed the meat.

The strangest thing though, is that the buck wasn’t actually a buck, but it wasn’t technically a doe. What Macera shot was a hermaphrodite, according to Taguay and his taxidermist.

A 1 in 10,000 genetic deformity, most hunters will never encounter a deer like this.

Macera shot the deer while hunting with his father on their property in Cazenovia during a Sunday hunt.

“He/she has 13 scorable points, including a 4-inch drop tine on the left side,” said Macera.

Macro decided to have the deer mounted instead of having it examined further to determine just what it was. He said because of the size and number of points that it’s a trophy.

Extension wildlife specialist Paul Curtis in the Department of Natural Resources at Cornell University says it probably wasn’t a hermaphrodite, but he would have liked to have examined it. Of the hundreds of deer he has examine, he says he’s never found a true hermaphrodite.

“It had a penis. It wasn’t a female,” he said. Most likely, he added, it’s a deer that had a testicular (genetic) abnormality or an injury.

“It could have injured itself jumping a fence and had bad luck. Its testes could have been hammered (by something like that),” he said

Ouch.

He goes on to say that the fact that the deer still had velvet on its antlers indicates it most likely is because of some testicular malfunction. Since bucks shed their velvet when their testosterone levels spike, allowing the bone of their antlers to be revealed, it shows that something went wrong and the deer didn’t receive that surge of hormones.

 

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