illinois antler doe justing one

Mike: One day last fall I swear I saw a doe with a small set of fork-horn antlers, but I didn’t shoot. Have you ever seen a doe with antlers?—Steve from MO

Steve, no I have never seen one in the wild, though I’ve posted a few on the blog. According to VA biologists, there are two types of antlered whitetail does. The first is a female deer with velvet-covered antlers like this one.  This animal usually has a normal female reproductive tract and is capable of bearing fawns.

The second type is a female deer with polished antlers. This animal is actually a male “pseudo-hermaphrodite.” It has the external genitalia of a female, but has male sex organs internally.

How rare is a doe with antlers? Renowned biologist Dr. Grant Woods told me: “I’ve often heard the number 1 in 10,000 quoted as the frequency of does that have antlers. I don’t know if researchers actually calculated that from check station data, or simply used that figure to illustrate how rare it occurs. Either way, a doe with antlers is a rare event.”

Generally only one or two, if any, are killed each season by hunters in any given state.