Dooly County Deer With “Hairy Antlers”

This 20-year-old nursing student has a knack for killing weird deer.

Mike Bolton | October 30, 2023

Surprise! This crazy-racked buck had never been seen on the hunting property of Marley Sudduth until she pulled the trigger. The deer likely suffered from a condition called cryptorchidism.

It would be a stretch to call 20-year-old Marley Sudduth a deer-hunting veteran. Let’s just say she has a knack for shooting weird deer.

“I’ve taken three bucks in my lifetime, and a few does, and one of those bucks was a piebald,” the Cordele resident said. “I was tickled to death to get that one.”

One thing is for sure. She will likely hunt the rest of her life and not ever take another buck like the one she took last week. The buck, as she described it, had “hairy antlers.”

“I’ve never felt a deer’s velvet before, but I’ve been told it is course,” she said. “This stuff on my deer felt soft like fur on a cat or dog.”

Charlie Killmaster, a WRD wildlife biologist and Georgia’s Deer Management Assistance Program Supervisor, saw photos of Marley’s buck.

“Most likely, it’s cryptorchidism, a situation where there was enough testosterone to grow antlers but never a big surge of it to harden them and shed velvet. That’s usually from under-developed testicles from birth, but it can also be caused by injury to them.”

Marley was a little embarrassed talking about her buck’s anatomy, but she said that she had done some research and had come to the same conclusion as Killmaster.

“People who saw my deer were saying that I killed a doe with antlers,” she said. “I told them, ‘I did not!’ I told them it was a buck. He was just a little funny.”

The nursing student at Georgia Southwestern State University in Americus said she was hunting on some private land in Dooly County with her brother when the second weird buck entered her life.

“My brother Cayden dropped me off at my stand about 5 p.m.,” she said. “I didn’t see anything until about 6:40. That’s when a doe and a couple of yearlings came out. Then a small 8-point came out. I watched them and all-of-a-sudden, they spooked. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a movement. It was about 140 to 150 yards away. I got my scope up and looked through it and saw the weirdest deer I have ever seen facing me.”

Unsure exactly what she was looking at as the daylight was fading, the deer started walking toward her.

“I could tell it was a buck with antlers,” she said. “It looked big. Then, it turned facing left. I pulled the trigger, and he dropped.”

Her brother heard the shot and came to her stand in their Polaris Ranger.

“The buck was lying in a food plot, and you couldn’t see him really good,” she said. “We got closer, and I thought his antlers were covered in trash and moss. I thought, ‘Oh my God.’ He’s got a small rack and that was a buck I wasn’t supposed to shoot. When my brother picked up its head, I had never seen anything like it.

“My brother said, ‘You sure kill the weird ones.’”

No one who hunts the property had ever seen the buck before, but they learned latter that a neighbor had gotten it on camera in 2021. Marley has the buck at a taxidermist who is soaking the rack in a formaldehyde solution that will preserve the buck’s rack’s unusual covering.

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