Another ‘Unicorn Deer’ has been killed by a hunter in Washington State, sparking debate over whether the rare creature should be protected.
The single-horned deer, referred to as a unicorn deer for its resemblance to the mythical creature, forms its single horn in the middle of its head due to a hormone imbalance, reports NewsOxy.
Washington State hunter Amy Calkins recently killed a deer and was surprised to find it only had one horn, making it one of the rare unicorn deers.
“I was in complete shock by the whole situation,” Calkins said. “How could this [female] deer have antlers? I felt kind of lucky. I even played the lotto last weekend.”
Calkins took photos and video of the deer in case anyone questioned her discovery, reports The Inquisitr. She said none of her hunting friends have ever seen one before.
A hunter in Slovenia also killed a unicorn deer in August. The rare deformity was explained more in-depth by Boštjan Pokorny, assistant director of the ecological research institute ERICo Velenje:
“In this species, only males grow antlers, which are bilateral and usually symmetrical bone structures that appear from two antler pedicles, i.e. extensions of the skull. However, in the case of this very untypical and interesting buck, both pedicles, which should be separated, grew up together in one large pedicle.
"However, in the case of this very untypical and interesting buck, both pedicles, which should be separated, grew up together in one large pedicle.”
The Slovenian hunter, just like Amy Calkins, did not know he was killing a unicorn deer. The government in Slovenia monitors the hunting of this type of deer, also referred to as a roe deer.
National Geographic reports, the hunter chose the deer for its advanced age and one antler.
“Any deer can lose an antler any number of ways, and a remaining antler is referred to as a "spike." However, from a distance, there was no way for the hunter to know that this animal had a rare deformity rather than a spike,” according to Pokorny.
Whether these animals should be protected because of their rare existence is up for debate.
When an 11-year-old boy killed an albino buck earlier this year he was met with congratulatory responses, and shock and outrage. An albino buck may only occur in one of every 100,000 births. The child even received death threats, as reported previously by OpposingViews.
Because the unicorn deer is a naturally occurring anomaly, does that mean it should be protected from hunters?