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What Is a Cryptorchid Buck?

a buck with crypto antlers

Bewilderment often befalls you when you first spot a cryptorchid buck.

It’s a rare and unusual whitetail deer, distinguished by its velvet-covered antlers and distinct lack of typical buck behavior.

Cryptorchid bucks suffer from cryptorchidism, meaning one or both testes haven’t descended.

This affects not just their physical attributes but also their behavior.

They don’t exhibit dominance, make scrapes, rub trees, or show any rutting behavior.

Their antlers, a sight to behold, remain in velvet all year round and continue to grow with age. This unique occurrence isn’t genetic; it’s purely a random anomaly.

So, let’s delve deeper into the intriguing world of the cryptorchid buck.

Defining Cryptorchidism in Bucks


A cryptorchid buck is a rare find, distinguished by the condition where the testicles remain in the abdominal cavity instead of descending into the scrotum.

You might mistake them for antlered does as they exhibit traits of both genders due to this condition that randomly occurs.

Testosterone production is low in these bucks, altering their behavior dramatically. As a hunter, it’s essential to recognize and respect these wildlife resources.

Harvesting a cryptorchid buck is a rare and rewarding challenge, providing a unique twist to your hunting experience.

When encountering a cryptorchid buck, you’ll notice distinct physiological differences that set them apart from typical bucks.

A cryptorchid buck doesn’t display typical dominance or rutting behavior, unlike regular bucks.

Moreover, their antlers remain in velvet year-round, growing continuously and forming unusual ‘cactus bucks.’

The physiology of a cryptorchid buck thus differs considerably, affecting everything from appearance to behavior.

Behavioral Differences in Cryptorchid Bucks

You’ll notice stark behavioral differences in cryptorchid bucks compared to typical ones.

Due to a birth defect preventing their testicles from descending, these bucks behave more like females, lacking testosterone-driven dominance and mating interest.

They don’t make scrapes or rub trees, unlike their regular counterparts.

A crypto doesn’t rub or scrape in November. He is passive and lacks the chemical stimulation to spar and express dominance in the social hierarchy

One of the most striking differences is their antlers.

They remain velvet year-round and continue to grow as the cryptorchid buck matures.

This contrasts with average bucks, who shed their velvet and exhibit rutting behavior.

Older cryptorchid bucks can develop deformities and abnormal points on their antlers, turning into what’s known as cactus bucks.

These peculiarities label them as ‘freaks’ within the deer community.

Antler Characteristics of Cryptorchid Bucks

Image: ImageBy_Casey_Burnett_cactus_buck_3 Casey Burnett tagged this big crypto buck in central Alabama. Image courtesy of Casey Burnett

The antlers of a cryptorchid buck are one of its most distinctive features, standing out from normal bucks due to their unique characteristics.

These velvet antlers are a key part of the antler characteristics of cryptorchid bucks. Unlike typical bucks, their antlers will remain in velvet throughout their lives.

This is because they lack the hormonal balance to trigger the shedding process.

As these bucks age, the antlers grow as the animal matures. This constant growth and the velvet covering give them a peculiar appearance.

In some cases, older bucks will develop deformities, leading to what’s known as a ‘cactus buck.’

These unusual characteristics classify cryptorchid bucks as ‘freaks’ among their species.

Understanding the Causes of Cryptorchidism

This birth defect is a rare condition that randomly affects the animal, leading to hormone imbalances and unusual antler growth.

Hormonal imbalances during fetal development, often due to chemical stimulation, prevent the testicles from descending into the scrotum.

Despite its random occurrence, monitoring this condition is vital, as cryptorchid bucks can’t reproduce, potentially leading to a decrease in the deer population.

Moreover, as these bucks don’t exhibit typical behaviors, they can disrupt the natural balance of the herd.

Before you go..

So, you see, cryptorchid bucks are quite the rarity in the whitetail deer world.

They’re not your average bucks, owing to a birth defect that alters their behavior and antler growth.

They don’t act like typical bucks, and their antlers stay velvety year-round.

Remember, this isn’t a genetic condition. It’s a random occurrence that adds a fascinating twist to the diverse world of whitetail deer.

Now you’re in the know about these unique creatures!


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