HomeOutdoorsNewsEight-Year-Old Georgia Hunter Tags Extremely Rare Cactus Buck With Rare Birth Defect

Eight-Year-Old Georgia Hunter Tags Extremely Rare Cactus Buck With Rare Birth Defect

by Shelby Scott
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(Photo by: Dennis Fast / VWPics/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

We’ve seen some stunning trophy bucks this hunting season ranging across the U.S., however, when it comes to the extraordinary, none beat the kill of eight-year-old Georgia hunter, Beau Pruitt. Hunting a food plot located on his grandfather’s property, young Pruitt took down an extremely rare cactus buck—a male deer boasting an unusual birth defect that left permanent velvet engulfing both main beams of its rack as well as portions of its face.

The young Georgia hunter had been hunting the unusual cactus buck since the start of Georgia’s youth rifle season. He finally took the massive deer down on November 3rd. However, Field & Stream reports Beau’s father, Justin Pruitt, had been tracking the strange deer for several years. While photos show what appears to be a pair of massive horns covered in permanent velvet, the elder Pruitt said that, at one point in the buck’s life, you could just make out what would have been the tines of its antlers.

“He wasn’t nearly as big at first,” Pruitt said. In fact, “he still had some regular shape to his antlers. You could actually see a few points in his antlers in the first few years. But this year the antlers became so large that [they] covered his eyes.”

What is a Cactus Buck?

Per the outlet, deer biologists state a buck becomes a cactus buck at the hands of a rare birth defect called cryptorchids.

This defect occurs when the buck’s testicles do not descend, leading to a complete imbalance in testosterone levels. As a result, these bucks cannot reproduce, and unlike your average male deer, they also don’t shed their velvet or their antlers either. Instead, the velvet accumulates, hardening with each season, and, eventually, leaves us with odd-looking creatures like the Georgia hunter took down last month.

The birth defect also affects the typical behavior of male deer throughout the year. Unlike everyday bucks, these cactus bucks do not make rubs or scrapes, and their necks don’t swell the way other bucks’ do during the rut.

Trail Cam Seemingly Catches Deer Having a Seizure

If you haven’t quite had enough of the unusual, don’t fret. While we don’t have any more cactus buck photos for you to gawk at, a trail cam recently captured what appeared to be a buck having a seizure while making a scrape. After viewing the footage, deer biologists have begun to weigh in.

Grant Woods, a well-known whitetail deer biologist and habitat manager stressed that while diseases like Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) and Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease (EHD) can cause whitetailed deer to behave unusually, seizures are not typically a sign that a buck has contracted either of those infections.

Instead, after weeks of consideration, Woods believes the buck’s apparent seizure was the result of a fight with another buck. Later, the wildlife expert realized the deer in the clip only had one eye. As such, Woods suggested, “I assume—and this is a total assumption—that he got in a fight [with another buck] and somehow got his eye knocked out. And there was probably some neurological damage with that injury. We’re just piecing it together here and I need to make that clear, but I think it’s a pretty logical conclusion.”

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