12/09/2011 10:16 am ET | Updated Feb 08, 2012

Gender-Bending Deer With Crazy Antlers Shot

This week's Animal Oddity is about a very strange creature that has been shot in Illinois.

A true "freak of nature" was taken west of West Salem during the second shotgun season over the weekend. Richard Lomas, a farmhand for George Knackmuhs, shot this 30-point doe on the late Richard Knackmuhs Farm. The deer, which features a non-typical rack, a drop antler still in velvet and no evidence of male genitalia, also does not appear to have ever given birth. Locals estimate the deer to be about 4-5 years old.

Typically, only male members of the deer family grow antlers (with the exception of caribou, also known as reindeer, where the females also grow antlers). They use them for ritual battle with other males over mates. Once mating season is over in early winter, the male deer drop their antlers. Come spring, they begin growing a new set.


A typical male white-tailed deer.

The deer shot near West Salem was odd not only because it was a female with antlers, but because the antlers had 30 points. That's a ridiculously high number of points. A healthy male deer in his prime might have ten or twelve points.

There must be something weird in the water in Illinois, because other female deer with antlers have been documented there recently. The phenomenon isn't unheard of, but it is very uncommon.

Click HERE to see this rare creature (warning, photo is graphic).

Photo above by Jeremiah John McBride via Flickr Creative Commons.

Get the latest odd animal news, stories, behaviors and videos from my Animal Planet blog, Animal Oddities.