crazy buck cactus

I saw this photo on the Facebook and wondered: Is that sucker the biggest cactus buck ever? Although cactus bucks are rare, I’ve seen a good number of them over the years. But nothing approaching the gnarly mass that this one has. I have no idea where this freak was shot.

Many people will think this buck had his balls injured or torn off (ouch!), but this explanation from Matt Knox (15th paragraph down), deer project coordinator for Virginia, fits to a tee:

A unique male antler anomaly is a “cactus” buck. These bucks suffer from very low testosterone production due to hypogonadism or cryptochidism (i.e., their testicles are the size of a green pea or never descend from the body cavity). Because they never experience a fall surge of testosterone, the antlers are never shed. Each year new velvet and antler material is grown over and around the existing antler. Over time this gives the antlers the look of a gnarly “cactus.” These bucks are not common…