Saturday, July 25, 2009

Mule Deer Antler Retention

A couple of days ago I noticed this Mule Deer buck along the way into work. He was with a group of about 10 bucks, all in velvet, but this one stood out. He hadn't shed his left antler this spring. I didn't have my camera then so this morning I went to see if I could get some photos where he has been hanging out.

I found him and another buck at the same area and managed to get a few photos. I was speculation on why he might have retained the antler, but couldn't come up with anything that would explain why an apparently healthy deer would keep an antler like this.

After I got home and looked closer at the photos I could see the the deer was also blind in the left eye. I suspect the deer sustained an injury to the left side of his head (perhaps a vehicle collision since this group of bucks hangs out next to a relatively well traveled highway). He is also growing in a new antler that appears to be trying to form from under the old antler at the antler pedicle.

Other than the blind eye and retained antler, the deer appears to be quite healthy.


hunt2live said...

This is quite common among deer species. When an animal has a traumatic event that effects one side of their body, the antlers will then be deformed somehow. I don't know the scientific explanation for this.

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