In an amazing feat, Jay Kehrer recently harvested a one-of-a-kind, nearly hairless buck. Earlier this fall, Kehrer and family had spotted the buck lurking around his 40 acre-property in Dale, Illinois.
“We were getting trail cam pictures of a deer that looked like it had reddish color fur,” Kehrer said in a recent interview. “We use Spypoint cell cams because we live about 100 miles away from where we hunt. It looked red in the sunlight and then in the shade, it would look chocolate. We had no idea what it was when we first saw it.”
After a few weeks of monitoring the deer, Kehrer nicknamed the bizarre-looking buck, ‘Hershey.’
Although it appeared to be fairly young, Kehrer was worried another hunter would take the deer due to its unique coloring. So, when the state’s second gun season opened on Dec. 1, he thought long and hard about what to do regarding the deer.
“On opening night, all of a sudden, my son and I look out in the field and it was that red-colored deer,” said Kehrer. “We were like ‘Oh my gosh, there it is!’”
However, the buck vanished into the woods for half an hour. When it returned, Kehrer wanted to let his son decide. His son declined, saying he wanted to hold out for a larger buck. After some back-and-forth, Kehrer decided to go for it.
“I’m thinking I shot this chocolate-colored deer and was already planning to get a whole-body mount done,” he said about the shot.
Hunter opens up about truly unique buck, unsure of what he was ‘looking at’
Afterward, he and his traced the blood trail for 40 yards before finding the buck. “We walk up on the deer, and we’re like, ‘what are we looking at, here?’ It was not what we were expecting at all…I was never thinking it was a naked deer. I just thought it had cool-colored fur.”
He added: “It seemed like a healthy deer. We know some game wardens and called the local captain of the area. He had one of his deputies come to look at it. He contacted a state biologist. The biologist said there was nothing wrong with it except that the fur was missing, and that the meat was safe to eat.”
According to Kehrer, he was unsure why deer lacked hair but didn’t believe it was a symptom of mange— which manifests in sores and patchy skin. However, Kehrer says this deer looked like someone shaved some of its areas.
After they found the buck, Kehrer decided to head to his local butcher to get their insight.
“We took it to our local butcher shop. They do hundreds of deer every year and said it seemed perfectly healthy,” he said. “The biologist said it wouldn’t have much fat. Because it didn’t have fur, it was burning its fat at a much faster rate. So, it was the leanest deer I’ve ever killed.”