In the most bizzare trail camera sequence I have ever witnessed, a yearling buck loses his front leg while standing in front of my camera, becoming a 3-legged whitetail! Here is what happened
While checking one of my trail cameras on the last day of the 2016 NC rifle season I found a deer leg laying on the ground just 5 feet from my camera. I tossed it to the side, thinking that one of my family’s Labrador retrievers had found a roadkill deer and drug its leg past my camera.
Later, while flipping through the camera’s photos, I noticed that a 3-legged buck had visited my camera. It wasn’t until I examined the sequence of photos further that I noticed the uniqueness of the situation!
In the first photos of the sequence I noticed that the buck’s front left leg was attached to his body by just a sliver of skin. In the next burst of photos, just minutes later, the buck was a three-legged whitetail.
It appears that the buck had suffered some sort of trauma to his leg, probably from a gunshot or car accident. By the appearance of his “shed” leg that I found, the wound had become infected while the buck continued to carry it. Eventually the leg had died and was eventually detached completely from the body as the infection deteriorated the skin around the wound.
You will also notice that while these photos were taken on December 31st, this buck has already shed one antler. This early antler casting is often seen when a buck’s body is stressed. Obviously the trauma of losing a leg has caused this buck’s body to go into survival body and causing early antler shedding.
Did He Live?
After talking to my neighbor months later, I learned that he had seen this buck on camera for several weeks following my set of trail camera photos. He told me that the buck stayed very close to the corn he was feeding on, and in some cases would be bedded within feet of his feeding station and would not want to leave when he visited the site.
Unfortunately, I do not know whether or not the buck survived this injury, but I suspect he may have. These photos are just another testament to the resilience of white-tailed deer and their determination to survive.