Q: a) This deer wandered up on the farm last bow hunting season and I took it in to protect it. I tried to find the owner because it was hand raised, with no success. It had one 7″ long spike and the other was broken off about an inch long. I cut off the other to match . . . This is a very rare deer and I know the danger. I am a holy man and I think this deer was a gift. So I am not in fear and am able to defend myself with hand to hand combat in any case. Thank you for being here for us and am looking forward to your reply.
A: He certainly is an interesting animal . . . I am far more concerned about your own safety, in being with this tame fallow buck. I can only state that tame male deer eventually become DANGEROUS to anyone who approaches them, and I am afraid that your own situation is no different. No matter what personal faith you may have, nor how well versed you are in martial arts, if this buck does attack you or anyone else there is the certainty of serious injury or even death. You can have no idea just how strong and quick an aggressive buck can be, if he decides to attack someone. Can you afford to have that on your conscience? If you think I am over the top with these statements please believe me – it is just not worth the risk of someone being seriously injured by this animal.
Follow up response: Let me tell you the known history and some speculation of this Dama Dama.
I was an avid hunter and had waited until the blush of the Bow season had passed. It wasn’t cold enough for me yet. I needed to be able to hand the deer up in the barn to age the meat.
Finally the perfect conditions presented. My first shot was a clean miss over the shoulder at 40 feet. I am a pretty good bowman and was bothered by the miss. That same afternoon I missed one under at 20 feet and again over at 30 feet. I am not new at this. At 53 buck fever was not the problem. Something was not right and I needed to think on this a few days. That was it for me! Three perfect shots and three perfect misses.
The night of the third day was different. My dog Kody was yapping all night. And in the morning she started again. I asked her what she was barking at, and in the field 100 feet away was this buck just standing there. It wasn’t even looking in my direction so I raised my hand and said “Hello Buck”!
The deer turned and casually walked over to me. It stopped and put its head down about 2 feet away and paused. Now mind you, it was the middle of the rutt: I grabbed a fist full of antler and we danced around for about 15 or 20 seconds. He wasn’t aggressive but didn’t like me hanging onto the spike. And I wasn’t fond of it pointing in my direction, so I backed away and he followed me around the barn several times. When I stopped he stopped. I walked over and patted him on the shoulder and said come on.
We casually walked down to the neighbor about 700 years, where I asked for help to put up a fence. They took pictures and we all visited for a while. And on the way back I was talking with the neighbor and had taken my eye off the deer, who promptly butted me in the butt. Just laying the spike aside my left hip joint. So I learned my lesson early on, and after enclosing him the spike came off.
There was some question here about his handling and treatment with special permits being required for keeping deer in Michigan. The Department of Natural Resources wanted to kill Bucky. But they only have jurisdiction over WTs. So he is classified as a pet like a goat. Even when I confronted them with the facts they wanted to put him down. I think that DNR must stand for “Do Not Resuscitate”.
He has been a wonderful learning experience and I think the Father wants me to stop killing and try taking care of one for a while. We have had some pushing contests and I have observed that he needs to set up first to push straight on at you. If I deflect his head to the side it breaks his concentration and he will have to set it again. If I don’t present a line up stance with him he loses interest. But I am sure that during the rutt things will be different, when he is mature.
There are some close neighbours 7 or 8 miles away who I have talked with. They have huge WTs that they keep inside enclosures all year round. She can go inside with the bucks, always on her guard and never during rutt. Craig The owner of this farm raised sheep for 40 years and is delighted at Bucky’s arrival. He took care of his own vet needs and has much insight on preventative maintenancy. I have been able to trim Bucky’s front hooves with an offset tin-snip cutter. He has interesting trust issues which I can relate to. It only took about 4 days to achieve access for 10 seconds work.
In my discoveries it seems that he was possibly shipped here to Michigan for the purpose of some animal sacrifice for the Persian population about 10 miles south and had escaped. This deer is engangered and is even more rare being white. It has all pink skin, seems to be in perfect health and has interesting eyes that seem to reflect his mood. Sitting in the paddock with him I can observe his eye against the sky with his head lifted up; they are reddish brown. But I have seen them green and even red when he is angry with me.
During the past winter I fed him corn and butternut squash. He always has access to alfalfa hay and clean water. He is a little chubby but not overweight. He has a mineral block that needs to be replaced and has a pretty good life so far.
This year will be interesting as he will have access to a larger enclosure. Your advice has not fallen on deaf ears. I know that you know what you are talking about and will heed your advice.
I am very pleased to have found your website. Thank you so much fore being there for us.
A: You tell a great story, and I have no doubt that you have established a special relationship with this creature. His behaviour has all the hallmarks of a buck that has no fear of you, and I can only repeat my concern. Please be very careful with him, and don’t be lulled into a false sense of security in the belief that you can fend him off if he really decided to attack you. You will not be able to do so. Your duty of care to other people is also an issue. But I am starting to repeat myself, so I will say no more.
Q: I live in southeastern United States, and have a rescued whitetail buck fawn. He is about 4 months old. He has bumps under the skin on his head, but the skin still moves over them. If I band him now, will it prevent antler growth, or will he still grow antlers? I have waited to band him because his scrotum is very small, and I am afraid the bands wont be tight enough.
A: Now is a good time to castrate him – he will not grow antlers if he is done now. It is essential that he be protected against tetanus, with the best approach being to vaccinate him with a 2 cc dose of tetanus toxoid now, with a follow up dose on the day that the is castrated (no sooner than 2 weeks after the first shot).
Q: I am writing to you with a probably all to familiar question, but then I here I go. My parents have been given an orphaned roe deer buck he was about 8 weeks old when they received him. It was recommended not to castrate him at that time because of the complication of perruque formation later on.
I am however concerned regarding the very real long-term danger due to the animal. He’s now 4 month old.
My question is basically would you still recommend to castrate him now and if he develops perruque antler formation how would you treat that or is there a way how to remove the antlers long-term, ie surgically?
Thank you for your help with this matter.
A: To go straight to your last question, surgical polling has been used mainly in fallow deer here, and a few in chital deer, The main problem is that if any pedicle tissue is left behind it can still grow an antler – sometimes a couple of years later, and it is always abnormal in shape. It never really became populat here with failure rates of up to 25 percent. We did the surgery when you could just palpate the pedicle. In fallow this was about 7 months of age, which is also the stage for castration with no perruque development – that it is done prepuberally is the key. Your buck may still be OK to do but not for much longer.. and make sure that he has tetanus shots. If you do decide to poll him I can describe the technique, but I think castration would be better, if done right now.
Q: My mother in law has a pet deer which was given to her as a small orphaned baby. She has a farm in Cairns and has hand raised Bambi the deer. He is the most gentle, mellow deer and goes everywhere with her including the beach and in the car. Bambi follows Anita all over the place
Anita would like to have Bambi castrated. He only has one testicle as the other was banded when he was younger but unfortunately they couldn’t band the other as he was kicking. We would really value your opinion (as not many vets seem to know about deer) – can we castrate Bambi at 11 months when his antlers are nearly through the skin, but not quite?
If so, what will happen to the antlers after castration – will they stop growing? Will Bambi be ok to sedate for the operation? We read on your website about tetanus shots at least 2 weeks before castration – would this apply to Bambi as well? Is there anything else we should consider or you would recommend? Thank you so much for taking the time to read this.
A: I have written at length about the problem of aggression in entire male deer when they become very tame. That adorable little fawn becomes very dangerous to the people he has imprinted on. You cannot take the risk of someone being hurt. Your little fellow has passed the point where castration will not be a satisfactory answer. If you castrate him now he will become a perruque, which is the term for a male deer who is permanently in velvet. The antlers keep growing without hardening, usually growing with the formation of strange shaped antlers, which quite frankly are not very pleasant to look at, and they often get abscesses in them. If that second testicle has not descended it will need a vet to do the job with general anaesthetic, or at least deep sedation and local. You do need to cover him for tetanus.
Q: I live in Minnesota, USA and have 2 bottle-baby bucks. We have had them since 5/23/14 and they were just a couple of days old when we got them, if not completely newborns. I understand the best thing to do for them will be to castrate them. I have read all your info about castrating, but my question is, do I have to wait until they are 4 months old or if it can be done sooner. We also have goats and alpacas and when the twins hit 4 months it will be late September. It could at that time be cool enough for my male goats to be in rut and I am concerned that that behavior might bring on “issues” with the twins.
Can I band them at 3 months or even 2 1/2 months or would that be too soon?
Thanks for any help. I am head over heels in love with these sweet babies and want to do what is best for them and safest for us.
A: You can castrate them as long as both testes are descended, and you can palpate them both in the scrotum.
Don’t forget tetanus prevention!
Q: I have a male deer that is 6 months old and has little nubs on his head but nothing has protruded through the skin yet. If I get him neutered now will he grow antlers?
A: If you castrate him right now he will not grow antlers. What ever method of castration you use you must protect him from tetanus.