LAYAFETTE, MO To bag a buck with antlers is one thing, but to land a doe with antlers is another. Eighteen-year-old Brenden Marsh of Oak Grove shot this rare deer in Lafayette County during Missouri’s November firearms deer season.
Kevyn Wiskirchen who is a Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) private land biologist said few deer with unusual traits are harvested every year. Anomalies occur in nature and occasionally female does will have antlers.
“There are not good percentages available for [exactly] how common or uncommon does with antlers are, but they are rare.” said Kevyn Wiskirchen.
High testosterone levels are said to cause does to sometimes develop antlers. Sometimes the doe is not really a doe but a hermaphrodite with both female and male genitalia. This could also be a male lacking external genitalia. True antlered females usually are in velvet after normal buck’s antlers have hardened for rut.
A couple things were really rare about Marsh’s doe. The non-typical antlers were larger than what is usually found on a similar doe. The deer had a female udder and still was in velvet. There were 19 points on the antlers.
“This is definitely the biggest [deer] by far for me,” Marsh said. “It’s my first deer to take with a rifle. So, it’s quite an accomplishment.”
The antlered doe weighed 165 lbs. after being field dressed. Marsh, who had harvested deer before, was surprised to find no sign of male genitalia or male glands.
Antlered does or anomalies such as albino deer occur in low numbers. They possess poor genetic traits for survival in the wild, MDC urban wildlife biologist Joe Debold said.
“Harvesting such deer makes an unusual trophy for a hunter, but it also removes inferior genetic traits from a deer herd.”
For more information on Missouri deer, visit the MDC website.
Photo: Brenden Marsh harvested this antlered doe on Nov. 24.