Louisiana Fawns Sired by Illinois Giant

A Louisiana deer hunter had a ballsy idea that may pay off with some genetic hand-me-downs thanks to his good memory and a Louisiana State University researcher.

Mike Toney with his giant Illinois whitetail that may sire several deer in Louisiana. (Photo: Dearl Sanders handout)

Mike Toney of Louisiana killed a monster buck last season in Illinois and remembered hearing about LSU researcher Jesse Saenz’s work on genetics. Toney drove more than eight hours after his hunting trip ended to get his big buck’s testicles – chilled on ice – to Saenz, who spent a day last November extracting semen from them

Sixteen does were inseminated and six became pregnant. They could give birth this week.

Dearl Sanders is resident coordinator at the LSU AgCenter’s research station in Clinton, about 30 miles from Baton Rouge. He says there are more uses for the technique than breeding what he calls “deer with big horns” as hunter targets.

“It gives a whole new method of moving deer genetics from the wild into other herds of deer,” Sanders said in this report. “Say you found a herd of deer in a state where you can’t move the deer — there are a number of those — that had an inherent resistance to a disease. This could be a way to move that genetic material to any area of the country.”

Toney said his hunting trip consisted of two great things last November: he killed his big buck and LSU beat Alabama, 9-6. Toney probably was thinking “Aw, nuts!” after Alabama thumped the Bengal Tigers in the BCS Championship game in New Orleans last January, though.