Rare circumstances allowed for a truly unique hunting experience for one Missouri hunter after he harvested a 14-point deer that turned out to be a doe.
Following the deer for a few months on his property in Clearmont, Eric Howard stated that trail camera footage he had collected made this deer his target for this year’s firearm season.
Acting on a Hunch
According to an interview with KMA Land, Howard had his suspicions about the deer after viewing multiple trail camera pictures. Noticing that the impressive rack was still underdeveloped for the time of year, he suspected that the animal was actually a female rather than a rutting buck.
Everything fell into place for Howard on November 17th, when he spotted a group of deer, including the 14-pointer, while he was getting ready to head out into the field. As the deer retreated over a hilltop, the spot-and-stalk hunt began.
Inching his way to within 200 yards of the deer, he made a perfect shot, dropping the animal in her tracks.
After inspecting his kill, he confirmed what he had known to be true. Placing a call to the Missouri Department of Conservation, he told the local game warden what had taken place. Making the drive out to see this unique deer, the game warden told Howard that she had never seen anything quite like it.
To grow antlers, deer use small buttons atop their heads called pedicels that are fed through the spring months with a dose of testosterone, a hint of prolactin and a dash of additional sunlight. It is through these months that antlers begin to develop, laden with blood vessels and covered with a layer of velvet.
As the year progresses into late summer, antlered deer will produce yet another round of testosterone which allows the antlers to finally harden into bone and kill off the velvet.
With regards to antlered does, most of them never reach that second stage of development, hence why many of the antlered does harvested each year are “in velvet.”