Wednesday, January 2, 2013

New Year's Day doe with long, curved hoofs

Surprised to see long, curved and elf-like hoofs
Doe hoofs that are much longer than normal
Fortunate to be hunting for white-tailed deer on New Year's Day, hunters can seize the day as the final opportunity to harvest some venison, or a trophy animal. During the first man drive of the morning my stand was in a likely spot for success and I was able to harvest two does. What happened next was quite peculiar. The second doe came to a crashing halt with her four hoofs sticking up, which almost never happens. (I can't recall ever seeing this before) Upon inspection of the animal, I could see that the hoofs were elongated and curved upward at the end, almost like the shoes of an elf ?! While other shots rang out in the woodlands, I became aware that I had harvested something very unique. Few things in nature are as uniform as the hoofs on a deer, which is the tool that serves them well whether they are crossing terra firma or swampy terrain. With a bit of research, I learned that this condition is called 'foundering' and is brought on by diet, or perhaps by the animals inability to process a portion of that diet. Another hypothesis states that the animal has ligament damage that requires it to walk on the back of the hoofs, which inadvertantly lets the front of the hoofs grow without normal wear. Whatever the reason, anything as unique as these curved hoofs is considered a trophy, making this is a great way to start the 2013 deer season! These hoofs will be preserved via taxidermy, and the memories of the group effort that brought about this special harvest will always be shared with those who view them.
This view shows how odd the hoofs look

To view another version click The Sportsman Channel.
Long-hoof doe as she came to rest in the woods

To view past blog entries about man drives for white-tailed deer click here.


  1. That is wild Jeff. I have never seen that before. Good Job on the last day.

  2. I worked at a deer processing plant in Georgetown sc for 6 seasons and this was very common. A biologist called it a hemoragic disorder or something like that. I've seen them curled more than this it is a little wicked

  3. Thanks Daniel. Robert, I had never seen this hoof trait before, and wanted to share it with others. Thanks for the feedback.

    1. Dear Jeff,

      You might say that an elf and a reindeer got married in San Francisco last winter and the result visited the Lowcountry after hearing of the #one destination rating in a Spoleto brochure. Possibility possum said it could have happened.

      Happy New Year and keep up the great reports from the field.


      Charles Waring

  4. Sounds like Santa's naughty list includes his North Pole helpers!
    Don't underestimate the tourism draw of the Lowcountry! Ha ha

    Here's hoping that I find some other worthy field notes to pass along in 2013 !!


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