Craig Dougherty investigates the ugly side of deer farming, including this outrageous 561-inch buck.
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I always try to avoid those sick tabloids at the supermarket checkout counter. You know the ones with the two-headed calves and the chickens with three legs and steroid-taking body builders who didn’t know how to say no. I feel sorry for these freaks of nature and truth be told, they give me the creeps.
That’s why I cringe every time I open an e-mail proudly offering a 300-, or 400- or even 500-inch whitetail buck at stud. Last week I received 4 of them, including the deer pictured here which is reportedly a new world record at 561 6/8 inches with 88 scoreable points. I click the e-mails open, cringe and delete. Then I get mad. Mad, because unlike the two-headed calf who is a true freak of nature, these whitetails are freaks of a different kind. These Frankenstein bucks are man made and money is the motive.
One look at this pen-reared buck tells you there is something wrong, something terribly wrong. His obscenely disfigured antlers look more like something you would find growing on a coral reef or in a post nuclear war sci-fi thriller. They twist and turn and droop and bulge and fork and then fork again. Some of these deer seem to have multiple bases and all of the racks are preposterously large for the necks and shoulders that support them. They look nothing like the bucks we see on magazine covers, nothing like the buck of our dreams. In the following slides I'll describe the methods behind growing these freak bucks and show you photos of just how outrageously large they can get.
Pictured: Ballistic 561 6/8 inches