Feb_1_07 This week we’ve posted on a melanistic deer, a piebald deer and now the weirdest of all, a “hermaphrodite” deer, which I’m pretty dang sure you’ve never heard of. I hadn’t.

It’s a freak of nature with both male and female sex organs.

According to Kevin Spear’s great article in the Orlando Sentinel paper, Joe Stokes went out one day last November and shot what he thought was a nice 9-point buck (looks like one, see left critter in the photo) on public land in Sumter Co. He killed the bigger 8-point moments after downing the he-she. Ol Joe had quite the day!

Joe and a buddy hauled the deer to a check station, I assume before gutting them. Tim Farley, a biologist at the station, lifted the 9-point’s legs, took a gander at all those genitals and said, “Did you take a good look at this?”

Hmm, I’m trying to get a good mental visual…

Joe peeked at the deer’s under bottom and said, “Wow!”

Farley told Joe he had killed a hermaphrodite. Joe said, “I don’t think I’ve ever said that word before. I had to look it up to spell it.”

Word of Joe’s “it” deer soon got to Robert Vanderhoof, deer management director for the FL wildlife commission. “A true hermaphrodite is pretty rare,” he said, pointing out that he has seen 5 such animals in his 30-year deer career in 3 states.

To make the strange story stranger, Spear noted in his Sentinel column that the day before Joe shot his prize another hunter arrived at the same game station toting a smaller, antlered deer that was also a he-she. Wonder what they’re putting in the swamp water down in Sumter? Is there a nuclear power plant around?

I guess the motto is, when you shoot your next deer next fall, lift its hind legs and make sure what you got. Or check when you gut it.