Massive Velvet Rack Covered Buck’s Eyes

Drew Hall | November 9, 2022

Eight-year-old Beau Pruitt with his crazy Morgan County buck. A ‘male-parts’ issue likely caused the buck to never shed its velvet or antlers. The growth progressed like slow-motion lava, swelling massively and eventually moving down so it covered the buck’s eyes.

The term “monster buck” is generally used to describe a deer with a large set of antlers on his head. But in the case of this Morgan County monster, it’s more than the size of the antlers that make it monstrous. He’s got a set of antlers that are not only large, they are downright spooky.

Beau Pruitt, 8, of Monroe, was hunting at his grandfather Mike Gasque’s Morgan County property when he had the opportunity to harvest this unique deer. The tale of this spooky buck began several years ago when Beau’s father began to see an abnormally racked buck on his game cameras.

“He wasn’t nearly as big at first, and he still had some regular shape to his antlers. You could actually see a few points in his antlers in the first few years. But this year his antlers became so large that it even covered his eyes,” said Beau’s father, Justin Pruitt.

Justin decided this would be a target for Beau this season and began their hunt during the youth rifle season. They were hunting in a blind over a food plot that the buck was a regular at, but his father-in-law spotted the buck at the other end of the property.

A week or so went by and Beau and his dad gave it another shot. They were back in the blind where the buck was a regular. This time the buck showed in the food plot with a group of does and a spike. When the buck got within 20 yards, Beau took his shot. The buck didn’t immediately fall over, so when he stopped in the food plot, Beau shot at him again. Upon further investigation, it was found that Beau shot a hole through the feeder leg where the deer was standing and never hit the deer. His grandfather saw the buck alive and well the next day to confirm both shots were misses.

A few days later on Nov. 3, the two were after the monster buck again. Justin said the scenario played out a lot like the last sighting. After the deer ran after the initial shot, he stopped again in the food plot for a follow-up shot.

Justin said he didn’t know if Beau had hit the deer because they were unable to find any blood at all. After following the game trail the buck had left on and seeing the buck bedded, alert with his head up, they decided to come back the next day and look for him after school.

Beau’s grandfather was pulling in his driveway around 11 a.m. the next morning and found the buck lying about 15 yards off his driveway, which was about 100 yards from the food plot where the buck was shot. It turned out that Beau’s shot hit the deer just a little farther back than he’d hoped for.

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Beau plans for a full shoulder mount of his unique trophy and described his reaction upon finding out about the deer.

“I was so excited I was actually a bit nauseous,” said Beau. “I plan on hanging the buck in my room next to my baseball, football and basketball trophies.”

The deer was Beau’s second deer ever but his very first buck. He was shooting a .223 caliber AR platform rifle, which Justin chose for its adjustable stock and low recoil for a young shooter.

The reason for the abnormal antlers was discovered after the deer was found. The buck only had one testicle, and it wasn’t fully descended.

Georgia WRD State Deer Biologist Charlie Killmaster gave an explanation of the buck’s condition.

“This condition is called cryptorchidism and is typically caused when one or both of the testicles never fully develop, which limits the amount of testosterone being produced. The annual antler growth cycle depends on a seasonal rise and fall in testosterone levels to fully complete,” Charlie said. “In the case of cryptorchids, they have enough testosterone to grow antlers but they never see the full rise to harden them and shed velvet. That also prevents them from ever shedding their antlers. Another potential cause is injury to one or both testicles, but that is less common,” said Charlie.



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