posted on December 19, 2011 06:46
By Mike Handley
While I've suffered more than my fair share of sinus infections, some that have left my head feeling as heavy and dense as a damp bag of Quikrete, I've never had it as bad as a couple of deer that came to my attention last week.
The first with a face only a mother could love was a very respectable 12-pointer shot in Ohio. Its swollen schnoz looked as if it had either been bitten by a rattlesnake or stung by yellowjackets.
Even though I've never seen anything like this in 41 years of deer hunting, I was ready to dismiss Muzzle-zilla as a freak of nature until his twin surfaced in Michigan.
Fellow blogger Michael Hanback posted a photo of the Michigan buck-a-potamus on his website, and Kevin Kreel, a wildlife pathologist at the Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study in Athens, Ga., eventually shed some light on the subject.
Kreel, who has seen about 10 of these animals in the last seven years, suspects a bacterial infection is to blame.
Something else, probably testosterone, is behind an Illinois oddity.
No Crying Over This Game
Every year, I see photos of antlered does - male on top, but not underneath. This season's specimen, a 30-pointer that hasn't been taped yet, was taken by Richard Lomas of West Salem, Ill., and he didn't realize it until he dropped it off at a deer processing plant.
The most common question whenever these critters are taken is how they rank among similar deer with jewel-less crowns. The answer is that no record-keeping organization has a category for does; only antlers are measured and categorized.
I have a couple of antlered does in my files that are bigger than the 2011 Illinois specimen, but most don't come close to being this big.
The second-most common question is how the animal should be tagged, and that depends on the state's own legal definitions. Most skirt the gender issue by offering “antlered" and “antlerless" tags (and nubbin bucks, by some states' designation, are considered antlerless, regardless of what's between their legs).
Dates to Remember
Jan. 28-29: If you live in northern Indiana, Illinois or Michigan and would like to have your buck measured for the BTR, you can avoid the $25 entry fee by bringing your deer to the 28th annual Hammond, Ind., Outdoor Sports Show inside the Jean Shepherd Community Center.
March 16-18: If you're interested in becoming a Buckmasters scorer, the next measuring class will be held during Circle M Auctions' 11th Annual Whitetail Classic Sport Show and Antler Auction in Dubuque, Iowa's Grand River Center. You'll have to pre-register for the class. This rare opportunity aside, the show attracts serious antlers and collectors. E-mail me for details about becoming a BTR measurer.