We might think of deer as peaceful, but they can be tough on one another.
QUESTION: These pictures are from a deer before and after I skinned it. It had this hole on its inner thigh. There was no smell of rotting flesh, but I have never seen anything like it my 15 years of hunting. Any idea what it is? — Robert M.
ANSWER: One can never be sure about such things, but it appears to be some type of wound. If I had to guess, I’d say most likely a puncture wound from an antler tine since that is a relatively common injury among deer, particularly during the rut.
Such wounds around the head, neck or chest often come from fighting. Wounds in the hind quarter are usually the result of running from a fight, whether a buck running from a more dominant male, or a doe running from a randy buck.
I once shot a buck with a similar external wound that showed no other external signs of injury. Upon skinning it, I discovered a 12-gauge shotgun slug. Upon further processing, I realized the buck’s rear leg had been shattered by the slug but had since healed. That buck might have lived a long and prosperous life had my shot placement not been better than the shotgunner’s. — Recent Ask the Biologist Question:
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