One of the things that makes deer hunting so cool is the variety of things a hunter sees while sitting perfectly still in the woods.
Jim Shulin of Bedford, Texas, was hunting last weekend in Burnet County when he spotted a very unusual deer.
"I was watching two small bucks and a fawn when another deer walked out of the brush," Shulin said. "I immediately knew the deer was a buck because its neck was swollen and it was walking stiff-legged toward the other bucks with its ears back, acting really aggressive."
The funny thing about this buck is that it had no antlers.
Shulin was hunting does (antlerless deer) and management bucks. An anterless buck fit both criteria. He cranked his high-powered scope up to 20-power, thinking the buck may have broken its antlers off.
Shulin could see no sign of an antler, though he verified it was buck. Shulin shot the deer. Sure enough, no antlers. Shulin rubbed around on the deer's head to see if he could locate the bony pedicels from which antlers grow. No pedicels.
Horace Gore, retired Texas Parks and Wildlife biologist and editor of Texas Trophy Hunters magazine, said he had seen all sorts of oddities in the whitetail world, but he never had heard of a buck that had no antler pedicels.
Since the deer field-dressed 99 pounds, it was probably 2 or 3 years old. Deer are small in that part of Texas.
Shulin apparently has a new world-record buck. Unfortunately, the record is for smallest Boone and Crockett antler score -- zero.
The same day the story broke about the antlerless buck, a reader e-mailed a story that ran recently in the Toledo Blade. An Ohio hunter shot an antlered doe that had nine points, a 22-inch spread and dressed 260 pounds.
Antlered does, said Gore, were the opposite of antlerless bucks, though they were much more common.