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Field Reports: Duluth hunter takes 10-point buck with rack in velvet

Nov 12, 2017 08:43AM ● Published by Editor

By Sam Cook from the Duluth News Tribune - Sunday, November 12, 2017


Mark Monacelli of Duluth shot a unique 10-point buck while he was hunting north of Cook on Tuesday morning.

The buck's antlers were still in velvet, a stage that typically occurs during the summer months before the antlers harden into a bone-like substance in the fall.

Monacelli, 63, didn't realize the buck's antlers were in velvet when he shot it, he said. When he walked up to the downed animal, its left antler was protruding from the snow.

"It was full velvet," Monacelli said. "I was dumbstruck."

The right antler was the same.

The buck had a penis, Monacelli said, but no testicles. There were other biological abnormalities, too, he said.

Wildlife biologists say they see mixed-gender characteristics in whitetails occasionally.

"This is something that happens from time to time," said Nancy Hansen, area wildlife manager for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources at Two Harbors. "There's just something going on with the hormones in a buck's body, specifically the testosterone level."

Duluth's Michael Furtman, who has written two books on white-tailed deer, agrees that hormones factor into these confused-gender cases.

"It's a hormone imbalance that leads to these mixed-gender animals," Furtman said. "It's unusual that (Monacelli's buck) has a penis. Typically, it's a doe that develops antlers. In this case, he probably couldn't breed but is male enough to grow a large rack."

Mentored hunter gets his buck

Alex MacGillis, 46, of Minneapolis, one of three brothers taking part in the Adult Learn to Hunt Deer program sponsored by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, shot a three-point buck on Sunday evening last weekend. MacGillis was hunting with his two brothers on the property of Doug and Linda Appelgren northwest of Grand Rapids. Their story appeared in the News Tribune’s outdoors pages on Nov. 5.

Neither of his brothers, Jim MacGillis of North Oaks, Minn., or Pierre MacGillis of Minneapolis, took a shot at a buck during opening weekend. Alex MacGillis said he plans to continue hunting deer in the future.

“I appreciate that I took a life to nourish me,” MacGillis said. “I’m glad that this program has taught us to really be considerate of the environment of the deer and the process, teaching us and stressing taking ethical shots.”

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