The most unusual deer taken in 40-Plus years on this family’s land.
By Phil Klein
It was puzzling. By the second weekend of the 2013 firearms season, I was perplexed by the lack of buck activity. That’s when I crossed paths with the most unusual deer I’ve ever seen.
My family has 220 acres in central Minnesota. We’ve been hunting there for 40-plus years, and that year we had another first when I shot an 8-point doe in velvet.
My father, Jeff Klein, and I had hunted the first weekend of firearms season and went home for a couple days to work. When we returned to the field, between the two of us, we only saw one buck.
We’d been rotating between a few stands and decided to sit in two we had on opposite ends of a long ridge. The ridge, which runs between two swamps, has produced quite a few deer in the past few years. I set up in my stand, and before long I heard my dad use his doe call. Just like in the elk hunting shows, a deer came crashing out of the swamp and headed straight for the call.
I’d been watching it for 30 seconds when I noticed it carried an 8-point rack. I waited and took a clear shot. When we went to track the deer, my dad found it.
“It’s velvet!” he hollered.
I jumped out of my stand. I mean, literally, I jumped out of my stand halfway down the ladder and ran to where he was.
We both stood in amazement at its velvet rack. It was still early, around 8 a.m., so I cleaned the deer and got back in my stand. As I was sitting there the rest of that morning I kept thinking about why the buck was still in velvet.
Then it hit me. I never cut off any male genitalia off the deer! It was a doe? It had to be.
When my dad met me in the afternoon to drag in the deer, I told him what I thought. We returned to the gut pile to search for male parts and found none. The only thing that we found was a hardened, dried up milk sack.
When we got home I called the Minnesota DNR and reported the deer. They wanted to use its parts for research.
What I learned was if you harvest one of these deer — estimated at 1 in 8,500 — you should make an effort to retain all the internal organs for researchers. I was unaware that many state conservation research centers have limited access to these deer and appreciate any material to use for their studies.
It might not have been a 180-class monster, but my buck sure has a lot of people asking to see her, so I had to name her. That’s my Show Girl.