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The Case of the Missing Leg

Back To "Ask The Biologist?"The Case of the Missing Leg
Bob, what do you think could have caused this?

QUESTION: Bob, what do think could have caused this buck to lose part of its hind leg? By the way, it has mostly been seen in an urban setting around our neighborhood, including my back yard. - Snaggsone

The Case of the Missing LegANSWER: There are several possibilities, and your comment gives us hints to a few likely scenarios.

Since the deer frequents an urban area, it’s quite possible a vehicle hit it. Being caught in a fence, or becoming tangled in a swing set, lawn furniture or some other type of yard fixture are other strong possibilities.

In any case, the buck obviously recovered from its injury well enough to go about its daily routine, which in this case is loafing around in your back yard.

I took a buck several years with a very similar injury, in a lightly developed area. Like the deer in your picture, it too had a deformed antler on the opposite side from the injury - a common occurrence with leg injuries.

More interesting was that, although I noticed a slight limp, I was unaware of the extent of the buck’s injury until I recovered it.

It seemed to be getting along just fine, which was particularly surprising since it had been injured by a previous hunter’s arrow!

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