Malformed heads


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I have read plenty about these and there are numerous reasons for them I believe, but I would be interested in what some of the well experienced guys think, and if anybody had particular views on the subject.

All being well I am to be assessed for my level two shortly and I was only out this morning on a look around to see what was where and did not want to shot him this morning but unfortunatly this chap was far from well moving very poorly with a limp in its back right hind leg.

There is another buck not to far away for this guy, as the crow fly’s that is not too dissimilar in growth so likely to be genes passed on ?. Any other opinions welcome.




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That is a cracker, many people would love to have that on their wall.
There are numerous reasons for strange heads, I wouldn't like to guess without seeing the rest of the animal.

Morena will be back online shortly as he is up North at the moment.

Good photo


Site Staff
Well Smithy you did the right thing taking this one out, well done. Can I ask were the tops of the antlers rotten, with a spongy feel to them. I only ask as I have taken a few Red Stag like this over the years, and one in particular off my lease last year.

Someone told me its the affects of Liver Fluke, but I am not so sure about that :???: Perhaps Morean will be able to help on this one.

Anyway well done on a cracking cull Buck




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Hi Malc,
Good to hear from you,
The liver was fine and the tops were are rock hard and like I said there is another not to far away form this one

p.s. did you see the sika photos?


The Mole

Well-Known Member
Liver fluke is often associated with 'corkscrew' antlers. Quite possible that this fellow had a bang of some kind (RTA possibly?) while still in velvet - that might be borne out by the limp.


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Sorry people for not posting sooner on this topic but have gone down with a relapse of Malaria so give me some time as am working on the antlers topic as and when I feel up to it.


Site Staff
Sorry to hear about your relapse with Malaria. It is not nice, although I am lucky I have never had it, both of my two PH friends contracted theirs in Mozambique about 6 years ago, hit one of them very very badly.

Hope you come through it ok, take care of yourself.




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morena said:
Sorry people for not posting sooner on this topic but have gone down with a relapse of Malaria so give me some time as am working on the antlers topic as and when I feel up to it.
you know where i am if you need me.
my door is always open for you
shall ring you later in the week


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Thank you for your kind thoughts. At the stage now where jersey on/off due to sweating then cold. Started on my way to scotland j. Hence my bad decision on that road.

This animal is going back . Body condition poor,old face antlers smooth coronet drooping. Abnormal branching.
have spoken to smithp18 and the wear on the teeth is predominantly on the premolars. Should be on pm3m1. Photos of jaw have been promised when his camera fixed.

To explain antler growth which is very complex will try to simplify.
As animals grow so the long bones extend. This growth takes place at the growth plate

This is made up of cartilage on the long side of the bone supplied from that side by blood vessels and nerves.The cartilage gradually gets changed into bone as it grows ( The rough edges are to stop slippage as cartilage relatively soft )When stops growing all changes into bone. Which is always detectable on the bone.

The way antlers grow is entirely different.
All bones are covered by a membrane called a periosteom. in the region of the frontal bone this is called Antlerogenic,from whence the antlers will grow.
Growth is triggered at puberty to form pedicles , on top of which are cells which can change into various types of cells ( stem cells ). The first year of life small antlers grow. Button bucks,spikers, knobbers etc. When these are cast the skin immediately starts healing and a mass of tissue called a blastema is formed. From this the antler grows.
Now the blood nerve suply takes the long way round. They go to the top of the antler bud and supply the tissue from above. See diagram. The blood vessels grow from the velvet towards the bone through the pre cartilage,cartilage soft spongy bone and bone

The areas where the tines are formed are rich in retinoic acid ( from vitamin a ) which causes the buds to grow. This then carries on to the formation of the head ( antler shape ) for that year.

Factors influencing antler shape.
Accidents. damage to the velvet and soft antlers.
Hormones Oestrogen/Testosterone balance
Growth on rising plain of testosterone. Eventually at height of testosterone production stop growing . Shed velvet. Hard antler. At declining level of testosterone separation of antler at coronet which happens very quickly. Skin heals. Start cycle again.
A lot of antler growth is influenced by oestrogen as well and if no testosterone input carries on growing.
I have discussed this with research scientists and they have thought my personal view that is a type of tumour reasonable, as tissue keeps on growing. How to prove this is another matter.
Buckup mentioned an antlered doe shot in error.
This is due to an imbalance of oestrogen/testosterone activating the antlerogenic periosteom with subsequent growth
Sikamalc mentioned soft spongy bone at the tip. Velvet damage. Kept alive by little amount of blood supply to the inside of antler.
Hummel. Damage to tissue or blastema not activated.
Switch or murderer ? genetic/damage.
Multiple antlers damage to blastema splitting it.
Liver fluke. There is substance in the liver involved in antler formation but animal would be dead before the infection became significant.
Should anyone wish greater depth pm me as fascinating subject.


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Hi Morena,
I hope you are feeling better and thanks for the reply, which is superb.
This is what this site to me is all about.
I challenge anybody to show me a better and more helpful informative butch of people who are spending there own time advising and helping others.
So from my perspective the new guys Sikamalc,JAYB running the site and the moderator team of helpers they need all the support and help we can give allowing the site to grow from strength to strength which includes healthy debates and opinions with positive intent.

Again, thats Morena for such a compressive and informative reply. :rolleyes: