We at City Pages have an interesting relationship with deer.
Over the course of our tenure, we’ve mourned wandering yearlings shot by authorities, puzzled over two-headed fawns, and beheld this terrifying tumor-covered specimen that almost got us kicked off the internet.
But now… we’re not entirely sure they’re even real.
About a week and a half ago, the Wide Open Spaces blog found and posted a YouTube video taken right here in Minnesota. The clip itself is nearly three years old, from the final days of the deer season in 2016. But the blog called what happens in this clip “a first.”
A quick warning: This video features a deer getting shot by a bow. If that’s going to be upsetting to you, go ahead and skip it. But here’s what goes down.
A pair of hunters zoom in on a buck sitting in the snow. There’s a soft twang as a bow is fired. But right as the arrow sinks into its target, both of the deer’s antlers pop off at once, like a space shuttle jettisoning its fuel tank.
It’s a second or two before the hunters realize what’s happened.
“He lost his horns,” one whispers. “I got him and he lost his horns.”
The video has over 100,000 views.
Deer are supposed to shed their antlers every year over the course of a few weeks. After the rut, bucks experience a huge drop in testosterone, which signals to the body that winter’s coming and it’s time to drop some unnecessary weight. But it’s rare to see a buck drop both antlers at once, let alone right after being shot—as though the hunter had inadvertently hit a switch somewhere.
A few YouTube commenters seemed to think it might have been the stress of the impact triggering a hormonal something or other inside its body. Some suggested it might have been a doe wearing a clever disguise. The Minnesota DNR didn’t respond to interview requests about whether or not this is “a thing,” and nobody else seems to have definitive answers.
Suffice it to say we’ll be watching our hoofed friends closely from now on.