Kelly Moore of Shell Knob, Missouri was crossbow hunting on Tuesday, September 26, when a stunning deer walked past his blind. Moore had seen the deer on a trail cam photo a week prior and believed it was a bruiser whitetail buck.
“I really didn’t expect ever to see a deer of that caliber come to me stinking like a fat pig in that blind,” Moore told Fox Weather.
It was Moore’s first outing of the season and an 80-degree day. Because of the heat, which makes field dressing deer extra challenging, Moore was holding out for a nice buck. But when Moore walked up on his quarry, he was in for a surprise. The deer, which had 18 full-velvet points, had female external reproductive organs. Moore was initially disappointed it wasn’t the big buck he hoped for—but he soon realized how special his kill was.
“Antlered does” are incredibly rare, and only a handful of impressive ones have been bagged in recent years. That said, it’s likely Moore’s deer is not a true antlered doe, which usually have hard antlers but a hermaphrodite, which exhibit velvet-covered antlers akin to that of a cryptorchid buck.
Missouri Department of Conservation spokesman Francis Skalicky told the Springfield News-Leader that seeing deer with abnormal mutations like this one is a good thing. “”It’s the offshoot of having an abundant deer population in Missouri,” he said. “The more you have, the more aberrations [there will be].”
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Despite his initial surprise, Moore is celebrating his unusual trophy. “I’m going to take it to the taxidermist and try to get the ball rolling on that, because there is special care needed for the velvet on the antlers,” he told KY3. “[I’m] hoping maybe to be contacted by somebody to put it in a museum, or maybe Bass Pro or something like that. It’s going to hang on the wall somewhere, even if it’s just in my house.”