Whatever the cause, irregular antlers can be awesome!
QUESTION: When I was a kid and through all the years of my life, I have been told by folks that non-typical bucks are a result of inbreeding among the deer population. Does that hold water?
ANSWER: There are many possible reasons for bucks having irregular antlers. According to Kip Adams of the Quality Deer Management Association, up to 50 percent of the bucks in any deer population have the genetic potential for irregular antlers, assuming they live long enough to realize that potential, which seldom happens.
Even bucks without the genetic potential can ultimately wear irregular antlers should they live into old age. Perhaps the most common causes are injury and disease, which can manifest themselves in a variety of ways. Then, there’s inbreeding, which in free-range populations is extremely rare. However, controlled breeding in captive facilities is essentially intentional inbreeding, which can lead to some astounding examples of non-typical antlers. — Recent Ask the Biologist Question:
The Infamous Perfect Shot: Is there a spot in a deer’s chest where an arrow wouldn’t strike vital organs? Find Out The Answer!