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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Whitetail Deer - Admirable in Every Way

Whitetail deer are impressive in every way. Look closely at this 8 point buck taken a few years ago. This style of mount is called a "European Mount" and displays the exposed and whitened deer skull on a oak board. This style has become popular and now plastic replica skulls can be purchased that allow the antlers to be easily attached. Its a nice shortcut but I like the real thing -- the real skull -- even if it means more cost and time. We know archery hunting requires ethical shot palcement. Here is a story about the other side of the coin. One afternoon, a phone call from the taxidermist gave me background and information about a deer that I never realized. He said, "Did you know there is a broken off arrow and the remnants of a broadhead in the skull of the deer I am preparing for you? The bone has grown over the aluminum shaft." Upon close inspection, you can see the pointed end of the broadhead still exposed. The transverse length of the shaft and broadhead combined is 4 1/2 inches and it runs completely though hard bone from one side of the skull to another. The brand of the broadhead was a NAP Thunderhead and the 3 blades were destroyed by bone at impact. The full story about this deer requires the use of one's imagination. Did a hunter make a bad shot and hit the deer poorly? Was a poacher hunting at night and attempting to take this good animal illegally a few months earlier? That is my guess. There were reports of illegal night hunting taking place in the area at the time. The bone growth indicated the event was not recent. When the animal was being field dressed, I felt a sharp point as I handled the deer but thought nothing of it at the time. When the animal was killed, he was feeding with a doe and exhibited no unusual behavior. Just an unusual story and an unusual deer. One can only admire the toughness of a mature whitetail deer --- tough winters, hunting pressure, illegal hunting activities .....and once in awhile, the story can get more interesting long after the hunt.

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