Newspaper Archive of
The Monroe County Reporter
Forsyth, Georgia
December 12, 2018     The Monroe County Reporter
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December 12, 2018

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Page 8C December 12, 2018 iI orter MONROE OUTDOORS by Terry W. Johnson ?i aving been a deer hunter for more than four decades, Bolingbroke resident Everett Collins has bagged his fair share of white- tailed deer. However, the ,fine nine-point buck he dropped Saturday, Nov. 10 in nearby Crawford County proved to be the most unique deer he's ever shot. i What makes :this deer so spe- TERRY W. cial was not its impressive size (an estimated live weight of 220-230 pounds) or its rack. Instead, this deer is extraordinary because of something a taxider- mist found when he was mounting the deer's head. Everett learned of the discovery when he picked up the mount weeks later. It seems that when the taxidermist was preparing the mount he noticed the buck possessed two upper canine teeth. Adult white-tailed deer have two canine teeth in the front of their bottom jaw. However, over time these teeth have evolved to look like incisor teeth. On the other hand, inci- sor teeth are rarely found in a whitetail's up- per jaw. These non- functional teeth are called max- illary canine teeth. Typically, they are small. JOHNSON In fact, they often never erupt through a deer's gums. Conse- quently, many can only be detected by scraping the gums of the upper jaw. The longer of the two canines found in the Col- lins deer is depicted in the photo accompanying this column. The canine tooth on the left side of the jaw appeared to be broken and was much shorter. Even if a deer sports up- per canine teeth, they are is Offering Hams & Boston Butts for Christmas Boston Butt $30 Hams $70 Call 478-508-2240 to place your order. Order Deadline: December 19 Pick-Up Date & Locationi December 22; Forsyth WaI-Mart parking lot under pop-up tent rarely discov- ered by hunters. In truth, taxi- dermists are the ones that most often find these very unusual teeth. I must confess that I have never seen such teeth, in spite of the fact that during my ca- reer as a wild- life biologist, I have looked into the mouths of literally hun- dreds of deer in both deer coolers and on managed deer hunts. A check with some of my biologist friends re- vealed they likewise have Canine teeth in whitetailed deer, like the one (Photo/Everett Collins) never encoun- tered these teeth. This could be due to the fact we were always focusing our attention on the bottom jaws of deer we were examining. The eruption pattern and wear on these teeth reveal the deer's age. The rarity of such teeth is demonstrated by the findings of other biolo- gists. Out of 18,000 deer examined in a study con- ducted in the state of New York only 25 whitetails (0.14 percent) displayed upper canine teeth. In comparison, none of the 10,000 deer examined by biologists in Wisconsin revealed the presence of upper canine teeth. At the other end of the spec- trum, the examination of the skulls of 163 white- tailed deer harvested on Texas' Wilder Wildlife Refuge found canine teeth were present in 49 deer. In comparison, upper canine teeth were noted in only four of 95 (4.2 percent) deer studied in Florida. Although little research has been conducted on this subject, what we do know suggests bucks are less likely to have upper canine teeth than does. In addition, within the oc- cupied range of the white- tailed deer, the likelihood of a deer possessing these bizarre teeth is greater in the southern portions of its range. As such, upper canine teeth are more O pictured above, are extremely rare. common in whitetails living in South America than the northern por- tions of the United States and Canada. Some mammalogists be- lieve the ancestors of the white-tailed deer roamed the wild lands of Asia. In fact, the Chinese water deer and the muntjac, the oldest-known deer species in the world, (also called the barking deer) still have upper canine teeth. Although the Chinese water deer does not have antlers, the muntjac does. Interestingly the Chinese water deer, which lives in Southeast Asia, uses its elongated canine teeth to defend its territory. Consequently, some mammalogists suggest the rare appearance of upper canine teeth in white- tailed deer demonstrates a lineage with these species. After reading this column, you are prob- ably wondering if you have ever harvested a deer that pos- sessed maxil- lary canine teeth. If you still have the skulls of the animals, check them out. If you do not have any skulls, examine the deer you harvest in the future. To do so, all you have to do is to fold back the upper lips that cover the sides of the deer's jaw. If the deer does have these rare teeth, you cannot miss them. If you do find a deer that sports these bizarre teeth, please let me know. It would be fascinating to learn how many deer in Middle .Georgia display this interesting trait. Terry Johnson is retired Program Manager of the Georgia Nongame-Endan- gered Wildlife Program. He has written the infor- mative column 'Monroe Outdoors'for the Reporter for many years. Email him at tjwoodduck@bellsouth. net. 0 | ! Email your photographs: to or bring them by our office at 50 North Jackson Street [ II II Wish your Customers a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year by placing a beautiful Holiday Greeting Card in the Monroe County Reporter. We can design a beautiful full-color card that will reflect your individual taste and sentiment and you will not have stress and expense of mailing out hundreds of cards! Call Carolyn Martel today at 478-960.2259, She can save you time and money and you'll have a Holiday Greeting Card that you and your customers will love! Our Christmas Greeting edition Nil run December 19th edition, Deadline is Wednesday, Dec, 12th, t ;r