The Science Behind the 13 Point Doe

A thirteen point would be an awesome trophy for just about any hunter, but the deer Shane Curtis was extra special. He shot what he thought was a normal buck but when he rolled it over it did not have the twig and berries of a normal buck. It instead had the lady parts you would associate with a doe.

He posted pictures of the kill on his Facebook account with the deer spread eagle showing it rack and its lack of wedding tackle.

13 points. Most I have ever killed. Oh by the way it is a DOE !!. Crazy ****update I am so surprised at the…

Posted by Shane Curtis on Sunday, December 3, 2017

An antler doe is cause 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 then 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.)

Over all it is a very rare condition and makes for quite the conversation piece.