Got this email from James D. on January 8:
Hello Mike: I have a place down in deep South Texas in Webb County. I have one particular buck that appears to have a hernia. I was doing research last night and trying to find images of something that matches the growth/tumor that this deer exhibits. I found the article on your website about hernia and it looks almost exactly like the one you posted.
I have been watching this buck for over 3 years and am assuming he is at least 6 1/2 years old now. He has never exhibited any abnormality the past few years.
This picture was taken this week. His neck is still swollen and he appears to be in very good health aside from the obvious growth. There is one week left of buck season down here and I really would like this deer to continue to run doe if he can still mate.
I really hate to take this buck because he is one of the best bucks on the place with very good genetics, especially brow tines. Any insight would be greatly appreciated.
On January 9 I wrote back:
James, based on my research and talks with biologists I would say this is likely a hernia but it is not so large as some of the other growths I have seen that inhibit a deer’s movements. This buck might be able to survive if this growth does not enlarge.
If you do decide to shoot him cut into the growth. Biologists say that is the only 100 percent way to determine if it’s a hernia or some other type tumor or nasty infection. I’d bet hernia. Did the deer just develop the growth this year? Keep me posted, thanks.
Later that night James wrote back:
Mike, he did not have the growth last year. I went out yesterday and observed him. Normally here in South Texas, the bucks’ tarsal glands are pitch-black with a black line running down their legs at this point in the rut. But his glands were only slightly tanned with a small area about the size of a quarter that was black.
I am assuming he was injured early in the rut and has not been fighting or chasing does since. I had a 3 1/2 year old, much smaller 8-point walk up to him yesterday and move him off the corn. Without even bristling up, he just turned and walked into the brush. This tells me the deer was hurting, so I did take him yesterday afternoon.
Sending you a picture of his rack and the hole in his abdominal wall that we discovered while skinning him. Thank you very much for the info.–James D.
Fascinating all the great hunters I communicate with and the stories they tell, and thus the great whitetail information I am able to share with you. Nine years of it and counting, all stored right here in the database of Big Deer. Thanks for your continued support.