Cryptorchid Buck: Tennessee Hunter Shoots Whitetail With Cryptorchidism

   01.09.20

A Tennessee man capped off his 2019/2020 deer hunting season by harvesting a cryptorchid buck he, and the entire Covington area, won’t soon forget.

The story of this buck begins around three years ago, when Logan Hanks captured his very first trail cam photo of the deer. Logan has been watching/hunting the buck for the last three years and has pictures showing his rack’s unusual development from year to year. He nearly sealed the deal on the deer last year, but missed him at around 160 yards. Logan claimed it was just his “bad luck” that got him.

Logan wasn’t the only hunter in the area aware of the cryptorchid buck, and certainly wasn’t the only one after him. He did, however, have a distinct advantage over everyone else because he owned and farmed approximately 200 acres next to the buck’s known hangout spot.

The buck showed up on Logan’s farm AGAIN this year, and he was getting regular photos of him all the way up until August. Then nothing. Bupkis.

Logan went months without any sign of the big buck, and began searching for him elsewhere. He didn’t have any luck, so figured he would hang a camera back on the only tree he ever got photos of the deer.

He was back.

So, Logan explained to his wife, “I’ve got to hunt this deer every day to the end of the season,” and that’s exactly what he did.

Logan said he didn’t lay eyes on the buck again until January 2nd. He was hunting in the pouring rain, and dark was quickly approaching. At 5:03, a doe walked in coming from the “wrong direction” making Logan think he had struck out again because the buck typically came from the opposite direction. Logan looked back and two more does appeared, then the cryptorchid buck appeared from over the hill.

Logan said his heart started to pound, and then realized his rifle was hanging behind him on the wrong side. He reached for his rifle and the first doe busted him. She stomped, blew, and took off. Followed by the rest of the deer. The buck ran back to the top of the hill, stood perfectly broadsided, and looked back toward Logan at around 100 yards.

Logan gathered his composure and took an off-handed shot without a rest. The buck dropped immediately in his tracks, but fell on the backside of the hill out of Logan’s sight. Logan stood up and looked thru the scope to see if he could locate the buck on the ground. To his relief, Logan could spot the tips of his antlers sticking up out of the grass.

Logan said he covered the 100 yards in near-record time to get to his buck, and immediately took a pic to send to his wife.

In case you’re wondering what a cryptorchid buck is, and why it’s still in velvet, here’s an explanation from Tennessee’s Wildlife Resources Agency:

“Cryptorchidism is a “failure of one or both testes to descend into the scrotum.” It is a rare condition that randomly occurs in whitetail deer and has nothing to do with genetics. It happens because of a birth defect preventing the testicles from descending, and the testicles remain in the abdominal cavity of the deer. Often, these bucks are mistaken for antlered does because the scrotum is empty and not noticeable.”

“Cryptorchid bucks don’t behave like normal bucks because they lack the average production of testosterone. Normally a buck will receive a natural increase in testosterone levels when the days begin to shorten. Blood flow will decrease to the antlers and calcium is moved to the antlers to make them hard. However, cryptorchid bucks don’t get this boost in testosterone, so they never exhibit typical buck behavior. They don’t express dominance, make scrapes, rub trees, or exhibit rutting behavior. Their neck does not swell, and they don’t breed. Cryptorchid bucks act more like does than bucks. Their antlers will remain in velvet year-round, and they continue to grow as the animal matures. Antlers of very old bucks will develop deformities and abnormal points, which allows them to grow into freaks, often known as a “cactus buck.””

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