The World Record Antlered Doe

World Record Antlered Doe

I doubt very many hunters can say they shot the doe of a lifetime, but one Missouri hunter can say just that. Back in 2014 Doug Laird shot what he thought was a monster buck but when he rolled the deer over he found quite the surprise.

Doug Laird and the Missouri Maiden

According to North American Whitetail, the deer that was dubbed the Missouri Maiden scored an unbelievable 189 1/8. As far as we know this is the only doe that has ever been entered into the Boone & Crocket record books.

The deer was confirmed as a doe by the Missouri Conservation Officer Nathaniel Hedges and there are pictures on file as proof. So there is no doubt in my mind that this is legitimate.

Now you may ask what causes a doe to grow antlers?

An antler doe is caused by a condition called Freemartin Syndrome. It occurs when a female twin(XX)  acquires the male (XY) component in utero by exchange of some cellular material from a male twin, via vascular connections between placentas. In most cases, the freemartin is rendered sterile. Most of what we know about the condition comes from cattle where it seems to be more common than with deer.

According to Wikipedia:

In most cattle twins, blood vessels in the chorions become interconnected, creating a shared circulation for both twins. If both fetuses are the same sex this is of no significance, but if they are different, male hormones pass from the male twin to the female twin. The male hormones (testosterone and anti-Müllerian hormone) then masculinize the female twin, and the result is a freemartin. The degree of masculinization is greater if the fusion occurs earlier in the pregnancy – in about ten percent of cases no fusion takes place and the female remains fertile.

The male twin is largely unaffected by the fusion, although the size of the testicles may be slightly reduced. Testicle size is associated with fertility, so there may be some reduction in bull fertility.

Freemartins behave and grow in a similar way to castrated male cattle (steers.)

What make this deer really unique, besides being massive, is that it is one of the few hard horned does. Most antlered does stay in velvet.