The Mysterious Case of a Doe With a Rack

A hunter in Missouri will no doubt be scratching his head for some time to come, and so will many others, after he bagged an astonishing 22-point deer that actually turned out to be a female.

“I saw it in a field with a group of six other deer, but a coyote came in and busted me — all the deer blew out,” said Curtis Russell, talking to the Springfield News Leader about the November hunt in a Christian County field.

Russell, 32, went back out to find the deer the next day, and spent the entire day with no luck. Then, twenty minutes before sunset, he spotted the deer among a group of does and one small buck. He said he crawled 50 yards on his belly, combat style, before getting to within 175 yards of the freak animal. Using a Remington 700 .30-.06, he took his shot, scoring a clean hit.

“It was dead before it hit the ground,” said Russell.

In Russell’s 26 years hunting deer, what happened next would certainly blow his imagination.

“It took me a minute looking at all the tell-tale signs, but it was missing male genitalia,” Russell said. “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.”

Trophy hunting will always have its tales, but this Victor/Victoria deer is one of the stranger ones. But they are not terribly rare: Does with antlers are still capable of breeding and giving birth to healthy fawns.

Still, a girl who looks like a boy is generally not an extremely attractive procreation option, in any species.  How other deer react to antlered females has not been widely studied.

Russell said he plans on either giving the doe to a museum, or setting it on a special place on his wall.

Photo credit: Dreamstime