On Sept. 26, Missouri hunter Kelly Moore killed a doe with a bigger rack than most of the bucks he’s tagged over the years. The velvet-antlered doe sported 18 points, which added up to a rough score of over 150 inches. If those numbers hold up over the 60-day drying period, Moore’s deer will be added to the Buckmasters record book as one of the highest-scoring antlered does ever taken by a hunter.
“It’s definitely a record,” Moore told Fox Weather over the weekend. “I don’t know that it’s going to be [number one]. A friend of mine came over and got a rough score on it of 157 7/8 [inches] and believes that it’s going to be like the third largest in the world.”
Moore explained that he shot the deer on Tuesday morning during his first sit of the season at his property in Barry County. It was a hot day with temperatures in the 80s, and he said he wasn’t even planning on hunting until he got a picture of the deer from a cellular trail camera he had set up near one of his deer blinds. Moore got in the blind before sunrise and waited for a few hours. He passed on an 8-pointer and a few other bucks and then the 18-pointer stepped out.
Still thinking it was a buck, Moore fired his crossbow at the deer and killed it. He retrieved the animal and saw that something was amiss, so he called his local game warden. Officials with the Missouri Department of Conservation then examined the deer and confirmed that it was a doe and not a buck. They said there’s a roughly 1-in-10,000 chance that a whitetail doe will grow antlers, and they explained that the deer’s atypical rack was the result of a hormonal imbalance that caused it to grow antlers year after year without ever shedding.
“This is just a sign that we have an abundant and thriving deer population in Missouri,” MDC spokesperson Francis Skalicky told KFVS 12. “The higher your numbers are, the more anomalies you’re going to have … You never know what you’re going to see out there, and this is case in point.”
Although the final score won’t be made official until later this year, Moore’s trophy-sized doe will join a list of some of the biggest antlered does ever recorded. At the top of this list sits the 15-point doe that Doug Laird, another Missouri hunter, killed in 2014. Laird’s doe had an official final score of 180 7/8 inches, according to the Buckmasters scoring system.