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Last December, Brad Wiley – QDMA committee member through the top Hudson river Valley Branch in brand-new York – killed a big 4 1/2-year-old buck top top the Otter Creek QDM Cooperative, the which the is a member. In this case, however, that wasn’t the period or the dimension of the antlers that made the buck together a distinct trophy. It to be the two upper canine this that Brad found on the deer’s skull.

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Lower canines are current in all common whitetails, yet upper ones room rare. The the eight front teeth on a whitetail’s reduced jaw, six are incisors and also the outermost two room canines. This canines have actually simply moved forward through evolutionary adaption to look and role like incisors. Deer feed v these front teeth by pinching a sheet or bud versus their top palate and tearing it far from the plant.

Upper canines, however, are much less common. In the Winter 2002 issue, Quality Whitetails answered a concern from Steve Shifflett of Michigan about upper canines in whitetail bucks. In a nutshell, QDMA’s CEO Brian Murphy explained that, “Upper canines space a rare but documented phenomenon in whitetails, and also that researchers think it is an evolution throwback to the ancestral kind of the whitetail which occasionally surfaces today.” Brian said, “While the specific prevalence of upper canines in whitetails is not known, that is thought to it is in well listed below 1 percent.”

Jim Heffelfinger, wildlife scientific research coordinator with the Arizona Game and also Fish Department and adjunct professor at the university of Arizona-Tucson report in his book, Deer that the Southwest, that top canines have actually been discovered in white-tailed and mule deer throughout their geographical ranges, and also when present, this canines are generally small, peg-like teeth that may or might not break with the gumline. A 1963 report by Lawrence Ryel from the Michigan department of conservation (precursor come the room of natural Resources) states upper canines have been established in whitetails from central America to Saskatchewan. Lawrence quote reports of top canines in 25 of 18,000 deer (0.14 percent) examined by the brand-new York State department of ecological Conservation, in zero of about 10,000 deer check by the Wisconsin Conservation room (precursor to the room of natural Resources), in 4 of 166 deer (2.4 percent) native Michigan’s top Peninsula, in 1 that 134 deer (0.07 percent) from Michigan’s lower Peninsula, and also in 4 of 95 deer (4.2 percent) indigenous Florida. The sex was not reported for many of these deer yet at the very least one native Florida was female. Lawrence’s report additionally mentioned the frequency of top canines appeared to rise from phibìc to southern as these this are much more prevalent in central American whitetails.

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At everything rate they in reality occur, that is rare enough that the topic isn’t even mentioned in the ar on whitetail this in the Wildlife management Institute’s book,White-tailed Deer Ecology and also Management. This 870-page book was released in 1984 and also had traditionally been viewed as the authority for white-tailed deer information and references. However, the authors did describe upper canines in ancestral deer and also in some modern-day deer cousins. Chinese water deer, elk, muntjacs (males only), musk deer, Peré David’s deer, sambar and tufted deer room all modern relatives that whitetails v upper canines. The current authority for white-tailed deer information and references is Biology and also Management the White-tailed Deer, edited by Dr. David Hewitt. This book does a an excellent job explaining and showing the evolutionary development from top canines to antlers.

More hunters and managers space collecting jawbones than ever before as part of quality Deer monitoring programs, but upper canines can conveniently be let go even when pulling lower jaws for aging. Taxidermists maybe see an ext upper canines than hunters and biologists combined. The very first upper canines I experienced were ~ above a buck being placed at the Pennsylvania academy of Taxidermy in Ebensburg, Pennsylvania. I had actually heard about them and also had activate deer inspect stations for the Florida game & Fish commission and brand-new Hampshire Fish & game Department for six years but had never seen them. In fact, I have actually skinned or aged thousands of deer since that day and also have only seen a couple of skulls v upper canines. This anecdotal information at least provides a sense of just how infrequently these this occur.

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So, if friend come across a doe or buck with upper canines, include the skull to your arsenal of antlers and other memorabilia – you’ve got a rare find.