“[My good friend] had pictures of this deer,” Perotti said. “Several weeks ago, we saw the deer being chased by some young bucks. So, that was another clue that it was probably the doe that we had on camera.”
Perotti knew what he was looking for. After some time in the blind, he saw a familiar foe walking through the clearing.
“I had my gun up just to see what it was and I thought it was a normal buck,” Perotti said. “When it stepped into the clearing, it turned to look toward the blind that I was sitting in and I recognized the deer. I immediately put the crosshairs on the shoulder and squeezed the shot off.”
Perotti’s first instinct was to clear his suspicion, checking behind the deer’s hind legs for any information. With his beliefs confirmed, Perotti turned his attention to the head, where he was pleasantly surprised to find another rare attribute.
“I started counting points after that and I counted 16 points,” Perotti said. “I was pretty amazed by that. That’s the most points I’ve shot of any kind of buck.”
An antlered-doe sighting isn’t incredibly uncommon, with several sightings surfacing from season to season. Typically, a doe with some kind of antler simply has higher levels of testosterone. In 2019, a 19-point antlered doe was harvested in Lafayette County, Missouri, about 140 miles away.
Perotti’s doe was, perhaps, a bit different.
Experts at the Missouri Department of Conservation believe an antlered doe of that size could have both male and female reproductive organs. These rare anomalies are typically incapable of producing offspring. Conservationists estimate antlered doe can be seen once out of every 10,000 deer, but conservation agent Jessica Filla says the number isn’t actually known.
“It’s kind of hard to tell because when we have people harvest their deer, they have to check it as an antlered buck or a doe,” Filla said. “So we don’t really know how many antlered does have been harvested.”
Filla was called to the scene to confirm the harvest. Surprised by the unique find, Filla posed for a picture with Perotti, which the Missouri Department of Conservation later posted to Facebook, garnering thousands of likes, shares, and comments.
When asked what Perotti planned to do with his newfound trophy, his answer was simple.
“The antlered doe is at the taxidermist right now.”