Thanks to ZONER Josh for sending this photo of one of the weirdest bucks you’ll ever see. The deer was hit and killed by a truck near Alma, WI. According to a local newspaper, biologists speculated that a diet high in proteins and minerals caused the deer to grow those long, curved hooves.
We ran the photo by a couple of our resident scientists and they said that while they may be off base, they suspect the animal was from a captive herd. They say that when a deer is fed excessive starch, primarily corn, “founder lesions” like elongated hooves can occur. EHD (Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease) and other diseases often cause deer hooves to crack, slough, etc., but not elongate and curve like that.
Body and rack wise, the buck was in good shape. Our biologists believe he was able to survive and prosper on those hooves because he was “on welfare.” They point out that many deer become dependant on backyard feeders and thus consume excessive corn/starch. While the animals might not be captive behind a fence or in a compound per se, they are conditioned to feed where groceries are easily accessible. You've heard it before--don't feed the deer!
BTW, the buck was reportedly placed in walk-in cooler at a bait shop for safe keeping. The owner of the shop said he planned a full-body mount.
Begs the question: If it was a wild deer, what would you think if you found those tracks?
Posted on September 14, 2006 in Deer/Outdoor Oddities | Permalink | Comments (8) | TrackBack (0)