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Something Missing

Back To "Ask The Biologist?"While antler oddities can be caused by missing or malformed reproductive organs, such a condition doesn’t always affect a buck’s rack.

QUESTION: While deer hunting last year in Indiana, I shot a big 8-pointer. When I lifted the back legs to begin the field-dressing process, imagine my surprise when I didn’t see any testicles! Looking closer I saw this deer had one extremely small testicle. It didn’t seem to hurt the size of the buck’s rack. Have you ever heard of something like that, and if so, what would cause it? — Kyle

Something Missing

ANSWER: First I would say your buck is definitely proof positive that size doesn’t matter. Several things could cause maladies like this including disease, injury or some interruption of the normal developmental process.

It is unusual but not rare; and when a buck’s testes fail to develop or descend, it often results in side effects like poor antler growth or failure to shed velvet or antlers.

Judging from your photo, your buck obviously suffered few if any ill effects from his, um, affliction.

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