There is not a “left antler” genetic code and a separate “right antler” genetic code, which is why the vast majority of whitetail bucks display left and right antlers of roughly equal shape and dimensions.
Due to obvious logistical constraints of transporting whole white-tailed deer carcasses back and forth across the state, I opted to use whole skull samples or sawed off antlers that had at least 1 inch of bone remaining in all directions from both pedicles.After hours of sweating over boiling pots of water, I had cleaned the hide and tissue off the samples and was able to examine the skulls for obvious signs of physical damage.This raises two questions: 1) Do abnormal antlers result from genetics?and 2) Can hunters influence the genetic composition of a free-ranging deer herd through selective harvest?Many thanks also to the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources for announcing the SOOS buck research project through an e-mail to the state’s hunting license holders.
Participation from sportsmen in 18 different counties yielded a total sample of 71 specimens.
Zoo babies"This shows that even in past times, there could have been animals with this anomaly," he said by telephone.
"It's not like they dreamed it up." Single-horned deer are rare but not unheard of — but even more unusual is the central positioning of the horn, experts said.
I decided to look into this phenomenon while pursuing a doctorate in wildlife sciences at Auburn University.
For my study, I defined spike-on-one-side (SOOS) bucks as any buck having either: 1) a side-to-side difference in gross Boone & Crockett score of greater than 50 percent, or 2) a side-to-side difference of more than two typical antler points.
Most commonly, it appeared that antlers had failed to cleanly separate from the pedicles (as in normally shed antlers) and that the antler base had fractured off portions of the pedicle and sometimes even the surrounding cranium – those “dirty” sheds I mentioned earlier.