Duane recently informed me that the odds of winning the Megamillions jackpot was about 292,000,000 to 1. That didn’t stop me from purchasing 3 tickets. He then shared that the odds of winning $1 million is “only” 12,103,014 to 1. So if I spent $6,051,507 on tickets, I’d have a 50:50 chance of winning. 

These are the conversations had with a statistician. 

I recently received an email from a friend of the study who shares photos captured on our study areas. He shared these videos of a buck.

This guy obviously doesn’t conform to the norm. I haven’t written an antler post in a while. So I guess it’s time.

Antler deformities are common and are overwhelmingly caused by some sort of injury be it to the body or the antler. Wonky antlers can last a season or a lifetime depending on the severity of the injury and the mechanics of growth. 

Here’s the interesting part. Of the THOUSANDS of photos captured, this buck rang a bell. Five years prior, this buck was seen on one of the camera traps.

yearling buck with broken antler facing camera

First, let just marvel at the memory of this long-time blog follower. Photos taken 5 years apart with 1,000s between and he remembered this odd little buck?!? That in and of itself is amazing. 

The photos were not snapped at the same location. The camera sites were a little over a mile apart. So what are the odds that the buck in these photos are the same deer?

Surely, much higher than the odds of winning the Megamillions.

Given the antler structure and body, the buck in 2018 is likely a yearling. And given we know that the majority of yearling males disperse from their natal range. The average is 5 miles but less than that is certainly in the cards. But we also know that average home range for males is ~2 square miles in the Susquehannock which is where this guy lives. So it is well within reason that these 2 camera locations were within his home range regardless of dispersal. 

Is it the same buck 5 years older? We can’t say for sure but 1 in 3 bucks on our study areas will make it to his 7th hunting season

Even Duane would by that lottery ticket.

-Jeannine Fleegle
Wildlife Biologist
PA Game Commission

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