Editors Blog

What Makes Odd Buck Antlers?

Jeff Evans and his trophy 9-pointer. Photo by Dan Schmidt

Whitetail antlers come in all shapes and sizes, and the reasons why some bucks grow abnormal antlers is highly speculative — even among white-tailed deer researchers.

Take this buck, for example. Jeff Davis of Wisconsin shot this beautiful 9-pointer a few years ago. I just happened to be driving by the check-in station at lunchtime and saw Jeff checking in his trophy.

“I passed up a buck about the same size yesterday, but that deer only had one side (antler),” he said. “This one was approaching on the same trail, but he was going to pass by a ways out. I took my Primos can call and turned it over, and he came straight to my tree.”

Jeff made a great shot on the deer, and the buck only went 100 yards before expiring.

What I find most interesting about Jeff’s deer is the long, sweeping extra point that comes off of the right base. We know from research that many antler peculiarities are hereditary. In many of these cases, we see similar traits from bucks in the same area.

However, these traits are usually manifested in things such as forked tines, drop tines, and basic point configurations. Could Jeff’s deer be exhibiting a genetic trait? Maybe; maybe not. There have been some studies that have shown deer can carry hereditary defects and pass them on to subsequent generations. It’s important to note that these “bad” genes could very easily come maternally (the doe).



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One thought on “What Makes Odd Buck Antlers?

  1. ED

    Yeah, have you ever hunted in Alabama. They seem to have more than their fair share of odd racks. If it is genetics, which seems most probable, how would you fix that? I’m thinking a biological study to confirm and then a major cull coupled with some new deer brought in from other states or farms.

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