We’ve all seen whitetails with physical oddities. As hunters, we might tend to think of non-typical antlers or maybe piebald (splotched) coats as the most obvious examples. But sometimes it’s what a deer doesn’t have that makes it stand out from the crowd.
That’s the case with a unique doe avid whitetail hunter Adam Boysen has been photographing for years in his area of Southeast Iowa. She’s missing nearly all of her left foreleg below the knee joint. Yet trail camera images show she’s lived a long, productive life. In fact, she was already an adult when Adam got his first image of her way back in 2015, and she apparently has given birth every year since.
Because what remains of the doe’s leg appears to be normal, it’s assumed she lost the lower part to injury in her youth. Adam says it might have been the result of an errant shot by one of his younger nephews, but he isn’t sure. In farm country hay mowers sometimes are the culprit, as extremely young fawns often will try to lie low in cover rather than flee approaching equipment.
Regardless, this doe doesn’t seem to have let it hold her back much. She not only has contributed to the herd but even now appears slick and healthy in photos. Not even the livestock fences stretched across the countryside have been insurmountable barriers.
In case you’re wondering, no, this durable whitetail doesn’t have a nickname. The standard for such deer often is “Tripod,” which of course would fit. But Adam and his hunting crew have avoided that moniker or anything else, other than the obvious. “We’re not big on naming deer,” he says, “so ‘3-Legged Doe’ is all we call her.”
And at this point, she’s also on the list: the “do not shoot” list, that is. “She’ll get a free pass as long as she’s alive,” Adam claims.