Circular Antlers on Deer?
Inside the Outdoors, January
17, 2014

Recently I was asked a question that I thought was very bizarre in “nature” by someone in a cab I was ridding. “Did you ever see a deer with circular antlers?” the individual asked.

Gracious, I thought to myself. Is this one of those Guinness Book of Record type animals? Never have I been in the presence of one of those. So, when a woman showed me an actual picture, I had to ask, just where did you take that picture? Her comeback was, “I didn’t. A friend did and emailed it to me.” The answer was all I needed, as I knew I wouldn’t exactly ascertain the whereabouts of this animal. “In Westmoreland County’s woods between Greensburg and Saltsburg,” was her answer.

“Is that all I needed to satisfy this reporter?” I think you already know the answer to that. Onward I went into the digging of more facts, as I knew I had something here that was never ever been reported before to me, at least seen within the territory described.

So, I continued my questioning. After all, as I saw it, what did I have to lose.

“How did your friend get such a close-up photo?” I said. “Did she have a special lens on her camera, tablet or cell phone?” Nowadays one can’t automatically assume a person is do photography with a camera. The technological age continues to baffle many, including yours truly.

The answer caught me by surprise. “She was able to draw the deer to her and feed them. This was just one of the deer that came to her so she took a picture of it,” she said. As stated before, never in my life have I ever seen such an animal in real life, zoo or pictured in a book.

As always, in times like this, there is always one man who has all the answers to whom I can lean on for answers, Tom Fazi of the Pennsylvania Game Commission. The information and education supervisor advised me that “This type of thing is not rare. Actually, this is made up of both antlers circling around, overlapping the other, to make it look as though this is one antler. It’s not.”

Then I told him how I found out about it and the proximity of where it lived. I figured that he may ask that question, so I told him the information I had learned. I also told him of the feeding of the deer and the consequential photo that followed as result of the nurturing.

“Feeding deer is not a good idea,” he said. And I can understand that. After all, if animals come to depend on human intervention, they may starve to death when people cut off this access to nourishment. Best to let them forage on their own.

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While visiting my in-laws during one of the weeks of the Christmas season, other family members were also in attendance. A gentleman from Florida decided to take a walk one after dinner as, according to him, “I needed some exercise.” What he got was an “eyeball” full more than he anticipated. Upon arriving back to the house, he asked, “Do you have animals around here that are almost the size of a bear but not that big? I saw something dragging another animal through the woods,” he said.

The first thing that came to mind is a species that is no longer a rarity anymore. As a reply I said, “It was probably a coyote” and left it at that.

Shortly thereafter, I received an email from Lin Gamble who is in charge of organizing part of the largest coyote competition in the state, the 2014 “Lucky Dog’s” Eastern Championship Coyote Hunt. Tubmill Trout Club has annually participated with at least 19 other clubs for the upcoming event Feb. 28 to March 2. He’s especially excited because of the prizes available to hunters.

“If we get 400 entries,” he said, “there will be six prize drawings all worth a substantial amount. This includes $1075 for first place, $920 for second, $810, third, $700, fourth, $600, 5th $1075 for sixth.”

In addition, “A $1200 ($3.00 per hunter) bounty pot will be created from entrance fees, to be split by non-prize winning hunters having taken a coyote. Only hunters having taken a coyote will have their names placed into drawings after 6 p.m. Sunday, Mar. 2, 2014.”

I will have more information on the hunts at a future date as we get closer to the event.

For addition information, contact Gamble at 724-235-9798 after 6 p.m.


- Paul J. Volkmann
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To buy my book, Off the Wall Favorites, call me at 724-539-8850.