Oh Doe! Man Shares Pic of Rare Deer in Upstate NY – Do You See Why?
If you look below at the image taken last month in Upstate NY, you can clearly see two deer in the photo, one much larger than the other. And while there doesn't appear to be anything unusual about the mom at first glance, take a closer look.
Do you see it? It's a doe - with antlers, photographed about 2 hours southwest of Albany.
The picture of the unusual-looking and rare deer was published on a Facebook group I follow called Wildlife and Nature Lovers of Upstate New York in July, shared by a man named Brian Smith.
But how rare is it to see a doe with antlers?
Rare enough to cause a bit of a stir on social media. Many of the comments came from hunters who say they spot them all the time, while others couldn't believe what they were seeing.
"Amazing. I wondered so I googled it. Does with high testosterone levels can grow antlers. Some of those cannot reproduce, but some can," one of the comments on the Facebook group said.
Another fan of the page added, "WOW!! If what Brian Smith shared is what you have seen then you really stumbled upon something unusual. How awesome!"
According to experts, female deers with antlers can be pretty rare. Some estimate that it's around 1-in-5000, others say it could be 20x more unlikely than that to see.
Wildlife experts have discussed this for years and theorized this strange occurrence can happen in a few different ways.
It's either an actual female with velvet-covered antlers or it's a male "pseudo-hermaphrodite" meaning that it has the external genitalia of a female but has male sex organs internally.
Or, wildlife experts say, it could be a male “pseudo-hermaphrodite” meaning it has the external genitalia of a female but has male sex organs internally.
Based on that information, Brian Smith did in fact snap a picture of the first option, a doe with velvet-covered antlers, and that this "animal usually has a normal female reproductive tract and is capable of bearing fawns," according to sources.
How rare is a doe with antlers?
According to BigDeerBlog.com, it's projected at about 1 in 10,000 but they can't confirm whether "researchers actually calculated that from check station data, or simply used that figure to illustrate how rare it occurs," the website says.
"Either way, a doe with antlers is a rare event.”