Editors Blog

Whitetail Freaks Part 2: Hermaphrodites

This bizarre-looking whitetail could be a cactus buck, a hermaphrodite or even a pseudohermaphrodite. (photo courtesy of David Generau)

Here is another bizarre instance of a buck’s genetic wiring gone awry.
This lucky hunter shot a truly once-in-a-lifetime deer, but what is it? That’s a good question; one that we can only speculate on when trying to answer it. The photo has been all over the Web, and was recently posted on Facebook by David Generau. My initial guesses on what caused this weird antler growth would be: The deer is either a defective male, or possibly some kind of hermaphrodite.
As noted many times by Deer & Deer Hunting’s own John Ozoga, true hermaphrodites have both ovaries and testes, but possess male or female external organs. This is key, and the very reason why so many folks believe they’ve shot an “antlered doe” when they see female reproductive organs on an antlered deer. A layman cannot distinguish the difference, especially after the animal has been field-dressed.
There is also the possibility that this deer is a pseudohermaphrodite (called cryptorchid males; common in dogs) with abdominal (internal) rudimentary testes and no recognizable ovaries.
Whatever the case, this whitetail is a sight to behold. The hunter should feel like he won the lottery in getting the opportunity to take this trophy home.