Hunter bags rare 36-point buck with crossbow

Stan Ethredge had monitored the deer for years.

He owns hundreds of acres and watched from his deer cameras as the deer’s antlers grew six points about four years ago.

This season, when it came back, its antlers had changed. They were a mass of twisted tines and knobby bases. Ethredge decided to hunt it.

"As soon as I got the crosshairs on him, I shot," Ethredge told the Clarion-Ledger. "He's eluded me for years, so I didn't want to let him get away. I shot him as soon as I got the chance. I felt pretty good about the shot. He turned and ran away the way he came. I sat there a while and it was the longest hour of my life."

As it turns out, Ethredge bagged a rare catch, a 36-point deer with a 16-inch spread.

However, the reason for the deer’s abnormal antlers is more science than mystery.

"Something caused the deer to stop producing testosterone," William McKinley, Deer Program Coordinator for the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks told the Clarion-Ledger. "Sometimes, bucks castrate themselves on a fence. It's not common, but it's not uncommon. It could have been disease. It could have been a number of things. If a deer doesn't have testosterone, the antlers continue to grow. They never harden and they never lose velvet."

Still, that doesn’t take away from its rarity.

"I told him this wasn't a deer of a lifetime," McKinley said. "It's a deer of several lifetimes."