Alabama hunters thought they had killed a magnificent buck with 8-point antlers. However, they were shocked by the truth when they got closer to the kill and began to skin it. Matt Kelley and the other hunters in his group noticed something missing from the animal – it did not have any male genitalia. Thankfully, Kelley and the others contacted the Alabama Department of Conservation to report the bizarre animal and learn more about their unlikely discovery.
Chris Cook works as a coordinator with the Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division’s Deer Program. When Kelley told him about the doe with antlers, Cook was familiar with other deer that have been brought into the department. However, none of the other specimens had a full set of antlers like the one Kelley, and his squad nabbed.
“I’ve seen a few over the years that looked like does externally that had antlers,” Cook said in the department report. “But it’s not physically possible to do that, and be fully functional does. I’ll get reports about a few each year in Alabama. The ones I usually hear about are the ones with fully developed antlers but are still covered in velvet. They have enough testosterone to start the antler growth but not enough to complete the cycle.”
Kelley described the moment when he and his cronies noticed the missing testes.
“Then the guy who shot it was starting to skin it and said, ‘Boys, this is a doe,’” Kelley told officials.
He added, “What was more crazy was the guy who shot it said the deer was actually not chasing a doe but walking behind it. The doe urinated, and this deer lip-curled just like a buck would. The landowner has had this land all his life, and they’ve never killed one like it his whole life. It’s a significant rack for a buck. If you looked at it, you would say this one was a shooter.”
However, things are more complicated than that. According to Cook, the deer these hunters captured is not a doe or a buck but something else entirely. It is a pseudohermaphrodite. Does that have functioning reproductive organs and antlers make up just 0.1% of the deer population.
“A deer like this with hardened antlers will have testes inside the body cavity,” Cook said in the report. “They don’t have fully developed male or female organs. They may have external female organs, but they would have to have underdeveloped testes that were still large enough to produce enough testosterone to have that antler growth.”
An analysis from the state’s department confirmed that the deer with the 8-point antlers weighed 175 pounds. Two of the eight points of the antlers were kickers on the base of the antlers. The animal was hunted in Sumter County, which is located near the Alabama border with Mississippi about 130 miles west of Montgomery.