SPRINGFIELD, MO – A Missouri deer hunter got quite the surprise after harvesting a deer with a massive rack. The 22-point buck he thought he saw on his game camera turned out to be a girl. A doe with very large antlers.
Curtis Russell tells KY3-TV that finding the deer he caught on his game camera was almost an obsession.
“I set up in place and sat there for about three hours, they never came so I started moving and they popped out on me and I had to go back and do a little belly crawling through the woods,” says Russell. “Got to about 175 yards and the deer finally turned broad side and I was able to put it down.”
The trophy wasn’t what he expected. That is when he discovered his elusive buck was a doe.
“It took me a minute looking at all the tell-tale signs, but it was missing male genitalia,” Russell tells the Springfield News-Leader. “Its face wasn’t like a buck’s, it was real petite, and she had a great deal of fat on her. I’ve taken a lot of deer but this had the biggest set of antlers, indeed.”
The Missouri Department of Conservation tells the Springfield New-Leader that the antlered doe was very rare. They make up only a handful of the 250,000 – 300,000 deer harvested in Missouri.
Deer biologist Emily Flinn says that the condition occurs because of higher levels of testosterone. Some antlered females turn out to be hermaphrodites. They have both male and female sex organs.
“Going to go on the wall; something to tell stories about all throughout my life I guess,” Curtis Russell tells KY3-TV.
He that the deer is no less a trophy and sent it to a taxidermist. It may land in a whitetail museum or join other deer mounts at his Billings home.