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Florida Buck was Really Doe in Disguise

Photo courtesy of Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation CommissionFrom Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

-- Thirteen-year-old C.J. Nowling, of Jay, Fla., took his first buck Jan. 3, while hunting with his grandfather in Santa Rosa County - or did he?

Photo: Photo courtesy of Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

What the boy and his grandfather didn't realize - until they were cleaning it - was the 6-point buck was actually an antlered doe.

"In most of these cases, what we find is that the deer has a combination of both male and female internal sex organs, and the external sex organs are usually underdeveloped and not well defined," Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) biologist and Deer Management Program leader Dr. Robert Vanderhoof said. 

"Deer with both male and female sex organs are called hermaphrodites. Often, underdeveloped males, called cryptorchids, can be mistaken for antlered does because they also exhibit poorly developed external sex organs," he said.

But after close inspection of the carcass and its entrails by veterinarian David Summerlin and FWC wildlife technician Mike Graves, the 110-pound deer Nowling shot had only female sex organs and its antlers were hard and well-polished.

Interestingly enough, four days later and halfway across the state in Levy County, Cale Barber, of Williston, shot another antlered doe - this one with a 4-point rack. The deer weighed 142 pounds, which is large for Florida deer, especially a doe. 

And just like Nowling's 6-point, its antlers too were hard and polished and it had only female reproductive organs as confirmed by FWC biologists Elina Garrison and Bambi Ferree and FWC veterinarian Mark Cunningham.

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