Bowhunter Arrows Extremely Rare Hermaphrodite Deer in Kansas
Dave Powell pursued the unusual whitetail for six years before finally tagging it during a late-September archery hunt
Back in 2017, bowhunter Dave Powell of Winfield, West Virginia, came across some trail-camera photos of an unusual deer that was running around on his Kansas hunting lease. The whitetail’s nontypical rack was impressive in its own right—with tons of points, pronounced drop tines, and kickers going every which way—but there was something else that made the deer special. “I thought it was an antlered doe,” Powell recently told the West Virginia-based Metro News. “I’ve observed this deer…and on two separate occasions I had seen [it] urinate in the same manner a doe would.”
Powell hunted the deer hard for six years and says he managed to collect several of its sheds during that time. He nicknamed it “Bootsie” and even pursued it for 54 days straight during the 2021 season. At one point, he had the rare deer in his bow sights at a distance of 44 yards but held off because the shot wasn’t ideal. On another occasion, Bootsie was bedded down just 20 yards from Powell’s stand. But once again, a good shot opportunity failed to materialize.
On the evening of September 29, 2022, his luck changed. He spotted Bootsie walking down a deer trail that led right past his stand. About 10 minutes later, it stepped out, and he arrowed it at 20 yards. He backed out after the shot, feeling good about his arrow placement.
Later that night, he returned with a blood-tracking dog and found Bootsie in the brush about 70 yards from his stand. When he started field dressing the deer, he realized that it wasn’t an antlered doe at all—but a hermaphrodite possessing both male and female sex organs. Powell later contacted well-known whitetail researcher John J. Ozoga who confirmed that Bootsie was a hermaphrodite. “He couldn’t cite the statistics,” Powell told the MetroNews, “but he said, ‘David, suffice to say what you’ve shot is a very, very rare deer.’”
Levi Jester, a big-game biologist with the Kansas Department of Wildlife & Parks, echoed Ozaga’s sentiments. “I have been with the agency a little over five years now, and this is the first one I’ve ever even heard a rumor of,” Jester told Field & Stream. “As far as the odds of this happening, I’m not sure if anyone really has that kind of information, but it’s rare.”