Richard Lomas was hunting near the Little Wabash River in southern Illinois on December 2 when he scored on a wild-looking 30-point non-typical whitetail—what he figured was a buck of a lifetime. Upon further examination, he discovered his trophy was missing the “plumbing” necessary to fully qualify as a male of the species.
Yes, in an era where cross-dressing and transgendered practices are becoming the subject of prime time TV shows, Lomas’ heavy-racked deer wasn’t exactly what it appeared to be.
Since that fateful day, Lomas has been basking in newly acquired hunting fame, receiving phone calls from reporters and other hunters from across the country. He told a local newspaper he has already received an offer from a mega-outdoors retailer to buy his deer mount for $50,000.
Lomas shot his “freaky” deer, which sported 30 decidedly non-typical points and a drop-tine still covered in velvet, at the Richard Knackmuhs Farm near Olney, Ill, where he’s employed as a farmhand. He shot it during the second weekend of Illinois’ split firearms deer season.
“I had never seen it before,” Lomas told the Albion Navigator Journal. “No one in the area had seen it before.”
While highly uncommon, antlered does aren’t as rare as many believe. In fact, the occurance of antlered does is the reason most state game agencies specify “antlered” and “antlerless” deer in game regulations instead of “male” and “female.”
Earlier this year, a press release from the Missouri Department of Conservation noted there had been five reports this year from Show-Me State hunters who shot antlered deer this year that appeared—at least externally—to be female.
According to MDC Resource Scientist Emily Flinn, as many as one in every 65 or as few as one in 4,437 female whitetails will grow antlers, depending on the region within North America. It’s all a question of hormones.
“Female deer can grow antlers if they have higher-than-normal testosterone levels,” said Flinn. “In most cases, does’ testosterone levels are too low for full antler development. The antlers are usually small and poorly formed, and they aren’t completely hardened. They typically are still in velvet when hunting season arrives.”
However, few whitetail does that grow antlers ever have a rack to compare with Lomas’ unique deer, with all but one tine polished and hardened.