Georgia Buck Believed To Have Rare Tumor

This crazy-looking buck showed up at a home on Lake Lanier. It's current whereabouts are unknown.

Mike Bolton | June 23, 2022

The search is on a for a particular deer in Forsyth County. You are probably wondering how it could be possible to pinpoint an exact deer in a county with so many deer. There is no mistaking this one.

WRD State Deer Biologist Charlie Killmaster believes the deer is suffering from osteochondroma, a tumor that grows unchecked and is made up of a combination of bone and cartilage.

The rare tumor is not transmissible and usually kills the deer if the tumor invades the inside of the cranium. It occurs in both males and females.

WRD is hoping to locate the buck to take it to the University of Georgia for study. The buck in velvet is believed to be near death, if not dead already. Efforts to find the deer using thermal-seeking devices and by patrolling the shores of Lake Lanier by boat over the weekend were unsuccessful.

Cumming residents Sonny and Angie Abercrombie were thrust into the story of the grotesque deer quite by accident. The deer showed up at their Lake Lanier home.

“We noticed this deer was hanging out down by the lake, and I knew something was wrong,” Angie said. “A deer just isn’t going to be laying down on the bank of the lake out in the open in broad daylight with boats going by.

“He finally came up to the house, and I saw the place on his head. It wasn’t bleeding then. He wasn’t in that bad of a shape then, but he was getting under my deck.”

Sonny believes the sickly deer targeted their home because it identified it as a safe place. 

“He was eating my wife’s azaleas,” he said.

The Abercrombies knew something needed to be done. Angie took a video of the suffering buck and sent it to WRD.

“The folks there said in situations like that they normally allow the homeowner to kill the deer, but they wanted to get the deer and send it to the University of Georgia to be studied,” she said.

WRD eventually came out, but by then the sickly buck had disappeared. WRD personnel searched the area around the house and the point of the lake where the Abercrombie’s home sits, but the deer couldn’t be found.

The deer stayed gone for five days, then reappeared at the Abercrombie’s home.

“It was obvious this time that he was weak and about to die,” Sonny said. “The growth on his head had maggots on it. He was bleeding a lot. My wife called me and said he’s lying under the overhang to the left of our front door. I told her to run him off because I didn’t want him to die there.”

Angie said the buck was in much worse shape this time.

“It was confused and stumbling,” she said. “When I saw him the first time the place on his head wasn’t bleeding, but this time it was and he was losing a lot of blood.  He actually came up to my front door.”

Sonny spent the weekend looking for the deer.

“I looked for him around the neighborhood with a heat-seeking device,” he said. “I then spent part of the weekend looking for him on the shores of the lake in my boat. There were no buzzards or anything. I just don’t know.”

Angie feels the buck is probably dead, but where it could be is anyone’s guess.

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