Bum leg, leads to odd antler

Most whitetail bucks are unique if they’re sporting antlers. Kind of like fingerprints, most sets are unique with assorted twists, turns, colors, lengths, massiveness and numbers of tines.

But not many are as recognizable as a buck that ended up about 18 yards from my ground blind Saturday evening, trying to get lucky amid a group of eight does and fawns headed to a cornfield.

One side of the buck’s antlers held five classic points on a nice wrap-around beam. The other side twisted off at a funny angle and carried just three points.  The real oddity, though, was that the deer was missing about the botton 12 to 15 inches of its left rear leg.

Your guess is as good as mine how he lost it. Caught in a fence? Broken by a predator while a fawn? Hit by a car? Hit be a poorly aimed bullet? We’ll never know.

But we do know that deer with such leg injuries often have deformed antlers on the opposite side of their body. I’m sure there’s a good reason, though I don’t know what it might be.

It didn’t make any difference. The landowner asked that I take the buck if possible to insure a humane end. It got around fairly well, but he worried a pack of coyotes could run it down….and they’re not polite enough to kill their dinner before they start eating.  I’d already hoped to shoot some kind of oddity, or mature buck with small antlers. It’s kind of a personal protest to how the quest for huge, perfect antlers has so polluted deer hunting.

No clue how the buck lost much of his back left leg, but it’s certainly the cause for a deformed right antler.

When the buck paused a bit from worrying does, I made a good shot with an arrow. (It’s legal to use archery gear during the firearms season, and the place I was hunting wasn’t condusive to safe shooting with high-powered rifles). I hope it’s as quick when it’s my time to go.

Two friends and I examined the buck’s bum leg, and saw it was totally healed at the end.  I noticed the buck was a bit thin for it’s age and frame, but it’s still a lot of venison for our freezer.

That one antler isn’t quite as pretty as the other doesn’t diminish my appreciation or pride in the least.