September 25, 2020

Forget Everything You Know About Tracking

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This was to be the title of J.R. Absher, The News Hound’s, article at his blog at ESPN Outdoors. He opted out of the story but sent his information over to me to see if I would be interested in picking up on the story. Thank you J.R. and by the way readers, if you haven’t been over to read the News Hound, I highly recommend it.

After I got the info I thought to myself, “Oh, cool! This is interesting.” And then I remembered getting a photo back last year, 2005, during the Maine moose hunt that will be directly related to this story. With the blessings of J.R., here’s what he had written.

Forget everything you know about deer tracks!

In one of those “you’ve got to see it to believe it” stories, alert ESPNOutdoors.com News Hound blog reader Bruce Norton of Rushford, Minn. scanned and e-mailed this clipping from Sunday’s Winona (Minn.) Daily News showing a whitetail deer with the most bizarre footwear we’ve ever seen.

Besides sporting respectable headgear, this buck that recently fell victim to a vehicle near Alma, Wisc. has hooves that appear to be at least five to ten times the average size.

Not only would one expect that these malformed toes led to this nice buck’s demise on the roadway, it’s hard to even fathom what kind of track it left in soft soil when it walked.
The photo’s caption indicates that Jarrad Fluekiger at The Main Channel Fishing Shop in Alma intends to have a full mount made of the unique animal.

The caption also notes that biologists believe that a diet high in specific minerals or proteins may have led to the oversized hooves.

Unfortunately, the Winona paper has not posted the photograph on its Web site.

So once again, we turn to our astute blog readership. Have you heard or read anything about this specific deer—or are you aware of this anomaly occurring in other ungulates?

Let us know!

Included in the story was a copy of a photo. I cleaned it up as best I could. Below the picture, I will include the caption that came with it.
Elf Deer killed by automobile in Alma, Wisconsin
This deer killed by an automobile recently in Alma, Wis., has overgrown hooves and biologists believe it is likely the result of eating something high in minerals and protein, said Jarrad Fluekiger of Alma. Fluekiger said the deer was recovered and placed in a cooler at the Main Channel fishing tackle shop in Alma. Doreen Burt at the shop said the owner, Lee Fluekiger, plans to have the whole deer mounted.

Not to be outdone by those in Wisconsin, Maine has a similar story but on a grander scale – of course you don’t really think the first story has a chance do you?

Last season during Maine’s annual moose hunt, the below cow moose, affectionately nicknamed the Elf Moose, was bagged by a hunter in northern Maine. Here’s the short story that accompanied the moose followed by the picture.

An interesting cow, referred to as the “Elf Moose” which has been observed around the Beaver Brook Road (T14R5) for the last two years was harvested this past week by Traci Bushey, the Ashland IFW Headquarters Warden Service Radio Operator. A real oddity as observed in the attached picture is the excessive growth of the hooves.
This cow had rear hooves over 15 inches long that curled upward. The animal did seem a bit skinny, perhaps due to reduced mobility from the hooves, but there was no problem with the meat.

Elf Moose killed during 2005 Maine moose hunt.

Tom Remington

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