On opening day of the 2014 Kansas gun season Chuck Rorie saw a nice rack. “I didn’t think much about it; it just looked like a nice buck when I was watching it and I shot it,” Rorie told the Wichita Eagle.
“But when I was skinning it I realized something didn’t look right,” said Chuck. “It didn’t have the right private parts.”
How rare is an antlered doe like the one Chuck shot last season? Research on the topic is thin, but some biologists have said only 1 in 6,000 does will have antlers. And Dr. Grant Woods, one of the top whitetail scientists in the world, says that number could be as high as 1 in 10,000.
Keith Sexson, who has been with the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism for 46 years, says he has heard of maybe 15 antlered does in Kansas in all that time “and that number might be high.”
What causes the odd doe to grow antlers? A higher than normal level of testosterone. “Excessive testosterone is why some women have more facial hair than others,” Dr. Woods says. “In deer, that’s expressed in antler growth.”
Research has shown that most does that grow bone put on small, stunted racks. Frequently those clumpy racks are covered with velvet, because while the does have enough testosterone to grow antlers, they don’t have enough of the hormone to cause rubbing like bucks do.
Chuck’s 225-pound doe is even more unique in several ways. The rack, which scored around 115, had 8 typical points (including tall brows), good mass and a 17-inch spread, and it was hard and polished in early December. “You could see tree bark on the antlers where she’d been rubbing them against trees, like a buck,” he said.
“I’m tickled to death,” said Chuck, who is having the rare doe mounted. “I know this is a once in a lifetime thing.”