Posted on Sun, Dec. 08, 2002 Doe, a deer, a female ...? Who can tell? By Bob Hood Star-Telegram If there ever was anyone who knew how to score a big white-tailed buck on the hoof, it was Ramiro Torres of Zapata. But something happened that crisp, fall morning in the Southwest Texas brush country that threw his calculations to the wind. An avid sportsman and hunting outfitter, Torres has bagged more trophy bucks than most people will ever see in a traveling display of mounted trophy deer heads. He grew judicious about which deer he would shoot on the Webb and Zapata County ranches where he hunted. But on that still morning, with coyotes wailing in the distance and javelinas stripping shreds of prickly pear nearby, Torres experienced the surprise of a lifetime -- a chance encounter with a deer unlike any he had ever seen. Bryan Dorsey of Fort Worth knows how Torres must have felt that morning because he had a similar experience last weekend. But it's a feeling that few hunters will ever share. I was hunting in a blind about 400 yards from Torres when I heard the crack of his .30-06 rifle. It was followed within a split-second by a dull thud, and I knew his shot had been on the mark. I didn't have to look at my watch to see what time it was. The sun had only begun rising above the low, thick brush five minutes earlier. The fact that Torres had shot a deer so early didn't surprise me, but what did surprise me was the sound of his pickup truck coming down the sandy road toward my blind about 20 minutes later. He had told me earlier he would hunt until around 11 a.m., and then come to my stand to pick me up. By the time I climbed down from the blind, Torres had stopped beneath me and was dragging the deer from the bed of the truck onto the ground, talking so rapidly I couldn't understand a word he was saying. And then I saw the antlers -- a symmetrical eight-point set that still was in the velvet, most unusual for a late November buck. And that's when Torres finally slowed in his excitement and his words became understandable. "It's an eight-point doe!" Torres exclaimed. "A doe!" Indeed, except for the fact that it had antlers, the deer had all the other characteristics that make a doe a doe. We took pictures then loaded the animal back into the pickup and took it to town. By late afternoon, that deer had been viewed by more people than I thought lived in Zapata County. Dorsey knows how Torres felt. A week ago Saturday, Dorsey bagged an antlered doe while hunting near Brady. Dorsey's deer sported a 10-point rack with hardened antlers, not ones in the velvet. Taxidermist Robert Sutton said the deer field-dressed at 135 pounds and had a 17-inch spread, with its longest tines measuring 10 1/2 inches. "It was late Saturday evening, and I saw the deer come out of the brush following a doe," Dorsey said. "It wasn't after the doe, just following her. I mistook the 10-pointer for a big buck I had seen the previous morning, but after I shot it, I realized it wasn't the same buck." Unlike Torres' antlered doe, the unusual deer killed by Dorsey had female sex organs and one testicle. Because of the size of the antlers, Sutton said it appears the deer had grown antlers, dropped them, then grown new antlers. Wildlife biologists say such abnormalities among deer are caused by a hormonal imbalance. How was the deer tagged? Because both Torres' and Dorsey's deer sported antlers, Texas law requires them to be tagged and recorded as bucks. The other tags available on a hunting license as well as regulations regarding what deer might be harvested are for "antlerless deer."