The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

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December 11, 2008

Hermaphrodite deer bucks trend

Teen hunter bags very rare whitetail

HERMITAGE — Jordan Rowe picked out the deer from the large herd because of its size — which he believed meant it was an older animal — but he did not notice anything unusual about it.

“It certainly wasn’t singled out, or alone by itself, which led me to believe I was seeing your average white-tailed deer,” said the Hermitage 16-year-old sophomore at Hickory High School.

The deer was not only not your average whitetail, but it gave Jordan a memory beyond the fact that it was his first antlered deer during his first solo hunt.

After the beast fell, following a blast from Jordan’s Remington 870 Express Magnum shotgun, Jordan noticed something unusual, although he did not know its significance at the time.

“The only recognizable thing I saw on the animal was the antlers were still in velvet, which is unusual for this time of year,” said Jordan, who felled the deer at about 4:30 p.m. Monday in his home city.

A call Wednesday from Jim Moore of Moore’s Processing, Farrell, explained why the antlers were still in velvet: the deer is a hermaphrodite, with both male and female reproductive organs. Hermaphrodites are rare, but found in most species of animals.

Moore said the animal lacks the testosterone that would naturally lead to the loss of the velvet.

“I was ecstatic when I found out,” Jordan said. “It was certainly an interesting day yesterday (Wednesday) finding everything out.”

The Pennsylvania Game Commission visited Moore’s.

“They were here taking pictures,” Moore said. “I get about 500 deer a year here for processing, but this is the first time I’ve had one like this.”

Jordan said game commissioners found the spot where the deer was shot. While he had been told the commission wanted to interview him about the deer, no contact had been made as of Thursday afternoon, Jordan said.

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