"A Sand County Almanac"

"THERE ARE SOME WHO CAN LIVE WITHOUT WILD THINGS AND SOME WHO CANNOT."
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"LOOK DEEP INTO NATURE, AND THEN YOU WILL UNDERSTAND EVERYTHING BETTER".....Albert Einstein


Saturday, November 2, 2013

Drop Tine Antlers Are Normal

While visiting the Monocacy National Battlefield today, I was talking with another visitor who had brought his family to view the bucks, preferably the bigger ones, that are not normally seen on unprotected land.  During our conversation he mentioned that while discussing the droptine buck, pictured below, with a National Park Service employee, he was told that because the deer had drop tines  on his antlers was one justification for bringing in sharpshooters because droptines are not considered “normal”.

To say that I was surprised to hear such a statement, especially made by an employee of the battlefield, would be an understatement.
 
In his book Whitetail Racks”, Dr. David Samuel, retired Professor of Wildlife Management at West Virginia University, has this to say about nontypical antlers…
Relatively few of our bucks ever live to 3 ½ years of age, and older bucks tend to be the ones that exhibit nontypical antlers. In states where bucks do get older, a buck might be a 4 x 4 eight-pointer at age 2 ½ years, then become a 5 x 5 ten point, but with a small drop tine on one main beam at age 3 ½.. After that he might develop all kinds of nontypical points, and that drop tine might grow in length and width. In fact, he might well develop a second drop tine on the opposite antler, as well as some stickers coming off the normal points.”
Dr. Samuel goes on to say…
“Antler confirmation in general is affected by genetics, but it seems
 that nontypical antlers are especially affected by genetics. The
older such bucks get, the more nontypical their antlers become.”
In other words, we rarely get to see bucks of this size and antler configuration because they are not allowed to live long enough for their antlers to develop to their full potential.  The first photo is the buck in question taken in 2012…
 

The following photo was taken 51 weeks later…


 His rack has developed a second drop tine and shows an increase in over all mass.  No one knows how large this buck might get if he escapes the eradication efforts of the National Park Service.  There are probably some legitimate arguments for reducing the number of deer on the battlefield.  In my opinion, there are no valid arguments for destroying mature bucks, especially ones of this caliber.

3 comments:

  1. How interesting!!
    One of my puppies from the last litter Vilda, 6 months hunted a 8pointer roe buck and her Dad was able to shot it. For our roes 8 is much.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for your comments on this and my other posts. We are not allowed to hunt deer with dogs with the exception of tracking dogs to find wounded animals. I love hunting with dogs, as a youngster we kept beagles to hunt rabbits which was always my favorite type of hunting.
      Steve

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  2. That is an amazing buck, Steve. It is sad that the employee is so misinformed about whitetail deer biology.

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