What Causes A Leg To Grow Out A Deer’s Body?

3 leg deer

Okay, something freaky for Halloween.

Saw on Twitter where somebody shot this deer the other day and said, “This is a first for me, an extra leg growing out his neck!”

Scientists say the extra leg is likely that of a twin that didn’t form all the way.

According to QDMA this is most likely a case of a “parasitic twin.” Twin fawns probably began to develop inside a doe, but the twin embryos did not completely separate and one of them stopped developing normally. The leg on this buck’s back neck may actually be a non-functioning remnant of the twin that failed to develop fully, but that remained attached to the healthy embryo.

Parasitic twins are rare but have been documented in many animal species and even in humans.

Pennsylvania Bowhunter Goes 40 For 40!

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Big shout out to Big Daddy, who has stuck with me on the BIG DEER blog since I launched it 10 years ago:

Mike: Got this guy October 16 from my place in Potter County. This is my 40th archery buck in 40 years from Pennsylvania, which is a 1 buck per year state. Good hunting, Terry Murphy, a.k.a. Big Daddy.

Way to go Big Daddy, one heck of an accomplishment sir!

Gun Hunters: Protect Your Hearing

ear plugsHad my annual physical recently, and glad to report that, knock on wood, I’m doing well. But doc did say, “You have slight high-frequency hearing loss in your left ear.”

I have always been able to hear extremely well, able to pick up the crunch of deer hooves at long range and zero in on the direction and location of those sounds. Hearing has been my greatest attribute as a hunter, and to know I’ve lost even a bit of that is disturbing.

Audiologists point out that exposure to noise greater than 140 dB can permanently damage hearing. Almost all guns create noise over that level. A .22 can produce noise around 140 dB, while larger calibers can produce sound over 175 dB.

Every time you fire a rifle, you create noise that can damage your hearing! The left ear (in right-handed shooters like me) often suffers more damage than the right ear because it is closer to, and directly in line with, the muzzle of the firearm. Also, the right ear is partially protected by the head and gun stock.

Shooters tend to have high-frequency hearing loss, which according to audiologists means that they may have trouble hearing speech sounds like “s,” “th,” or “v” and other high-pitched sounds.

At the range, I always wear hearing protection, and I try to double up, with foam ear plugs and muffs over them. But in the woods I have never worn plugs, feeling a need to hear deer coming.

I am going to change that ASAP this season by keeping plugs and even muffs handy, depending on the situation. It’s going to be a hassle, and I don’t want to do it. But I dread the alternative.

When in a tree stand or fabric ground blind, I am going to wear pair of foam plugs linked with a cord around my neck. Plan is to hear a buck coming, see him, get ready, put in plugs and then take the shot. As I said, hassle and one more thing to think about, but gotta do it. You should too, no matter how old you are.

When I hunt from a wood or metal box blind, I’ll use the plugs or maybe even muffs. Firing a rifle in an enclosed place where the shot reverberates and bounces off walls makes the noise louder and increases the risk of hearing loss. Always wear some type of ear protection in a box, starting today!

Doc says that while I have a bit of hearing loss, I can prevent more by ALWAYS wearing ear protection every time I fire a gun and when people nearby shoot a rifle. Follow my lead and wear your “ears” on every shot.

Rifle Scope Tip: Mount It Low

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I was texting with my friend John Fink, a firearms and optics expert who works for Trijicon. I am fixing to mount a couple of world-class Accupoint scopes on new rifles, and asked John’s advice for doing so. His reply:

You typically want to mount a scope as low as possible on a rifle. The height of the rings you’ll need is determined by the objective diameter of the scope. 

Good rule of thumb is mount a scope as low as possible without the objective bell touching the barrel, and at the back end, allowing clearance at the eyepiece for free operation of the bolt. A low mount makes the scope rock solid, and leads to good accuracy.

In the picture, note the low-mount profile of the Accupoint 3X-9X by 40mm scope on this Remington Model 783. Looks great and that is one of the most solid and accurate deer rigs I hunt with.

John and I produced a video on how to mount a scope click here to watch.

October Deer Tip: Hunt Mast And Browse

GreenacornslrSome good hunters I know don’t hunt their best stands until around Halloween, and then they hunt them hard for the next 3 weeks. Their strategy is sound: put no pressure on bucks until they start rutting and moving more in daylight hours.

 

Good in theory, yes, but I don’t believe that approach is practical for most of us. You’re busy…you hunt when you can. If that happens to be in October, great. The woods are beautiful, the weather is nice and there are fewer people in the timber than there will be come November. There are opportunities to get your buck, and here is one thing to keep in mind.

Grant Woods, one of the premier whitetail scientists in America and a seasoned archer who hunts as many days as he can in October, says to key on what the deer are eating  now.

“If you’re not seeing deer in October, you aren’t hunting in the right places,” he says. “Deer change their behavior as they go from summer to fall patterns. Our telemetry studies don’t show any let up in feeding activity during the so-called ‘lull’ in October. You’ve just got to find them.”

According to Grant, the main reason deer seemingly disappear during early October is a change in their diets, and subsequently a change in their movements.  In summer and throughout September they fed often in crop fields, where they were visible. “But now many deer feed on browse and mast inside the woods, and they aren’t as easily seen,” he says. “Mast is a very strong attractant, and bucks will abandon their summer forage patterns when acorns start dropping. Find the mast and you’ll find some bucks.”

Most hunters know to look for acorns. But an overlooked strategy is not to focus enough on thickets in the woods, and the cover and browse they provide for deer. As they mender through the October woods between bedding covers and mast trees and fields, bucks veer here and there to walk through thickets, where they linger and nibble leaves, buds and stems. Look for trails with recent tracks leading to and from thickets; fresh rubs and scrapes nearby make the setup even better. Play the prevailing wind, and hang a stand for an ambush.