We all want one; a whitetail with antlers that defy description, well beyond the norms set by Boone and Crockett, and Pope & Young. Unlike the classic typical, a non-typical deer in the wild occur for several reasons that are often as diverse as the animals’ antlers themselves.
Injuries are the leading cause of most uniquely shaped antlers. Whether it’s a whitetail or muley, or an elk or a moose, when an animal is in velvet their antlers can be remarkably vulnerable. The velvet is a protective covering for the blood vessels during growth. Any severe blow or break will damage the antler and, depending on whether the animal is early or late in development, the antler will change shape or stop growing. In many cases, the animal’s antlers will grow normally in the following season.
One exception can be if the base of the antler is severely damaged in the first few weeks of growth. In this case the animal may have non-typical antlers the rest of its life.
Other causes can be from simple injuries, such as a broken leg or stab wound from fighting. The wound or damage redirects testosterone and other nutrients in the animal, creating changes in antler growth. Other injuries that will greatly affect antler development include damage to the scrotum, which also changes the delivery of testosterone to the animal’s rack with tremendously different results. Sadly, whitetails raised in captivity are in some cases partially cut to create this effect, a disreputable practice.
Genetics certainly can play a role and are the most common factor, especially with more subtle changes like dropped tines, unique sticker points, palmations and overall shapes that differ from the typical antler. Anyone who hunts the same area over multiple seasons can often recognize these changes and spot trends from specific dominant breeding bucks.
When it comes to non-typicals, every year there seem to be more of them or at least the Internet makes us feel that way. Click away and enjoy some of the whitetails that deer hunting dreams (and a few nightmares) are made of.
This buck set the Internet on fire. The buck was taken by Dan Coffman, a fireman from Junction City, Ohio. The massive non-typical is pushing for the Ohio state record in spite the eruption of a Facebook controversy. Coffman had been aware of the buck for two years and did his homework, keeping in contact with Ohio Division of Wildlife agents and immediately informing them once the deer had been shot.
During mid-September 2015, Nick Davis of Elkin, N.C., said he had killed a giant non-typical North Carolina buck with his bow. As with many giant deer stories, the deer turned out to be less than legitimate. As more attention was focused on the animal, Davis allegedly admitted to state Wildlife Resource Commission Officials that the antlers were purchased in Pennsylvania and were then screwed to the skull of a three-point buck that he had killed in North Carolina.
Massive Bow Buck
Watch as North American Whitetail Editor Gordon Whittington interviews Mark Hammer about his amazing example of a massive non-typical buck taken by bow during the 2014-15 Ohio season.
Extraordinary footage from the Realtree guys show how every shot is not always perfect, and provide a sense of the anxiety bow hunters experience when faced with the deer of a lifetime.
The Story of the “Hole-in-the-Horn” Buck
You can’t talk about massive non-typical whitetails without hearing the story of the Hole-in-the-Horn Buck from Ohio.
From 2008, here’s a look at how a giant non-typical muley was taken in the Arizona Strip Area.
Biggest of the Big
If you really want to get a feel for what’s in the non-typical world over the last 40 years, click through the “20 Biggest Non-Typicals of All Time” from North American Whitetail.
Whether you’re watching a video, clicking through a slide show, or reading a story, animals that fall into this size category are once-in-a-lifetime experiences. It also never fails that no matter how clean the event looks, there is often controversy.