When Brian Towns, 54, of Cobourg, walked up to the deer he shot in the first week of rifle season, he was justifiably proud.
He had been in his stand for 20 minutes when the big 10-pointer showed and walked towards him. Towns, an experienced hunter, capitalized on a good shot opportunity at 115 yards. The buck dressed out at 185 pounds.
It was much later, however, that he discovered the truly unique thing about his buck. It had fangs.
“I actually didn’t know it had fangs until 14-year-old Caleb Derry, (an after-school taxidermist and owner of Quinn Road Skulls in Marmora), did a European mount of it for me,” Towns said.
The one-inch fangs are upper canines on the top of the mouth and curl towards the nose.
According to a Quality Deer Management Association article on the subject, lower canines are present on all deer but upper canines are rare and an evolutionary throwback to an ancestral form of deer. The article claims they can be found in well below one percent of deer.
Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters Biologist Keith Munro, who has examined many deer skulls, has never seen one or even heard of one in Ontario, prior to this.
Munro said they are easy to miss if you do not get the skull mounted.
The discovery made the hunt even more special to Towns who was hunting at his deer camp in Madoc.
“This year, The Rainbow Ridge Camp, which I am a part of, was celebrating its 30th anniversary. I’ve taken plenty of deer there, but this is the most memorable.”