There are non-typical whitetail deer, and then there is "The Louisiana Freak," a deer with antlers so irregular that it is really in a category all its own. Shot by Sammy Walker in 1958, this bizarre buck is so deformed that its rack can't actually be scored.
This type of irregularity is known as a cactus buck, which occurs when a buck sustains an injury to the testicles or otherwise has a low testosterone level. Testosterone is the hormone responsible for the velvet covering on antlers as they grow and also shed. Cactus bucks have enough testosterone to grow their antlers, but not quite enough to complete the process by shedding them to start again the next year. Because the buck doesn't shed his rack in the winter like most bucks, the subsequent growth is usually gnarly and irregular.
Cactus bucks aren't eligible for scoring in the Boone and Crockett scoring system. The Sammy Walker buck's rack weighs in at more than ten pounds. Imagine carrying that atop your neck your whole life. It has 22 points on its right side, 26 on its left. The greatest spread is 28 inches, and the right and left sides feature greatest circumferences of 10 and 13 inches, respectively. Before it was officially rejected, the buck's rack garnered an unofficial score of 291 3/8 by veteran Boone and Crockett measurer Dave Boland.
Not only was the Louisiana Freak an irregular buck, but the conditions the day he was harvested were unusual as well. Sammy Walker decided to head out with his son and friends on an uncharacteristically frosty morning in January by Louisiana standards. According to North American Whitetail, it was 20 degrees and an ice storm had just passed through, prime conditions for deer to be up and on their feet. Walker was hunting near Bayou Blue, a small community in Terrebonne and Lafourche Parishes in the southern end of the state.
While driving property with dogs, the dogs pushed this crazy buck past Walker and at first, he wasn't even sure it was a whitetail because of its baffling appearance. he approached the buck and saw the most unique rack (which was entangled with vines, twigs, sticks and mud) that he, and any of his comrades, had ever seen.
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