ELIDA — Todd Harsh has been deer hunting since he was knee-high to a buck. For more than 30 years he’s ventured forth in the fall in search of his quarry. He’s harvested deer of both sexes over the years, but on Thursday the 45-year-old Harsh scored a kill he’ll not soon forget.
The Elida resident was hunting on a family owned parcel of land in Hardin County, stationed in a tree stand, when a group of four or five deer ran past. Harsh said he set his sights on the largest of the group and pulled the trigger. His deer tag had been filled. It was a nine-pointer, a nice kill in the deer-hunting community.
It wasn’t until some 30 minutes later that Harsh realized what actually had happened. Talking with other hunters in his group, someone mentioned that the deer had “velvet” on its antlers — an uncommon occurrence.
“He told me to check the sex of the deer, and it was a female,” Harsh said. “I had no idea it would turn into this.”
Antlered female deer, or does, are not unheard of. But they’re certainly rare.
“I talked to a biologist from the Division of Wildlife and he said there have been three antlered does recorded this year in Ohio. One was a record-setter and the other was a small “button-doe.”
The doe harvested by Harsh had a “typical rack” commonly associated with a buck, with five antler “points” on one said and four on the other. He guessed it weighed between 150 and 175 pounds.
“It sure didn’t look like a doe,” he said.
Harsh said the ODNR biologist told him that, unlike bucks, females don’t shed their antlers, meaning the appendages just keep growing and growing.