Q: I have a Winchester shotgun, Model 1911, that was handed down by my great-grandfather. I’ve tried the Winchester Web site but can’t find out anything about it. If you could help me out it would be great.
A: People who need to know something about old guns should buy a copy of Ned Schwing’s Standard Catalog of Firearms (Krause Publications, Iola, Wisconsin). There are several similar books on the market, but this is the most complete.
According to Schwing, the Model 1911 was Winchester’s first autoloading shotgun and was evidently rushed to the market (in 1911, amazingly enough) to compete with others from Browning and Remington. Like all autoloaders of its day, it was recoil operated, but because of the rush job it had design flaws that caused it to be discontinued in 1925 with only 83,000 sold. They’re not particularly valuable, even to the almost insatiable Winchester collectors; even in like-new condition they only bring about $500.
Q: I recently took my first buck in Ohio, a magnificent 8-pointer. When we got him home I noticed he had a “mane” running down his neck and back. Is this normal in whitetail deer? Could a whitetail have mated with another animal to produce this? My taxidermist says he’s rarely seen anything like it until this year, when he received two or three bucks similar to mine. Please clear this up as we are eagerly trying to find the answer.
**A: **The only other animals whitetails can successfully mate with are other whitetails, mule deer, or blacktails. I doubt you have any muleys or blacktails wandering loose in Ohio, and they don’t normally have manes anyway.
It sounds like a local mutation, a recessive gene that shows up now and then. It’s no real mystery. Mutation is how evolution works, and regional variations in deer show up all the time.
Non-albino white deer are an example. Real albinos have no pigment in their body, so their hooves are pale and eyes pink. White mutations have dark hooves and eyes, and show up frequently in areas where local regulations outlaw the shooting of white deer.
The manes on your local deer will probably disappear, as there’s probably no evolutionary advantage to a mane. Unless, of course, a local law is passed forbidding the shooting of maned deer.