Russell Nickel has been deer hunting for more than 30 years and has gotten to the point where it takes a special buck for him to pull the trigger. He’s put several nice deer on the ground where he hunts in Alfalfa County, Oklahoma, which sits just south of the Kansas border, but this past Saturday, he saw a buck unlike any he’d ever seen before.
While sitting atop a small sandhill in a box tower with his son-in-law, the duo spotted a massive cactus buck that had Nickel doing double take after double take, unsure of what the heck he was even looking at.
“I was looking at this buck and trying to figure out what was going on,” shared Nickel, “I knew there was something weird about him.”
The buck was so odd that Nickel thought the buck’s rack was wrapped up in twine or something else.
“I thought there was stuff wrapped up in his rack. I could see that he was fairly wide and had some mass, it just didn’t make sense. I almost didn’t shoot him as I’d never seen anything like this before. I couldn’t take it anymore and decided to shoot this thing,” reported Nickel.
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After dropping the buck with his trusty Remington Model 7400, Nickel recovered the deer with his son-in-law and called the game warden saying, “You have to come look at this buck, I don’t even know how to check this deer in…he’s like an alien or something.”
A cactus buck is a deer that has a condition called cryptorchidism, which results in velvet remaining on antlers and continuing to grow throughout the year. The condition generally occurs to bucks that have irregular testicles or have incurred testicular damage, which impacts testosterone levels. Testosterone regulates antler growth and development.