A so-called unicorn deer killed this November by a Slovenian man is being mourned by many, although the hunter has said he was unaware of the rarity of this unusual animal. Unicorns may be magical beasts that only live in fantasy books; however, a deer with a single, central horn might surely pass for one of these creatures. The Daily Mail reports this Friday, November 14, 2014, that a rare deformity resulted in the lone antler “horn” appearing on its head.
For fantasy lovers, this “unicorn” was about as close one may get to actually seeing the mythical creature. Having only just been found, a unicorn deer killed is a tragedy for nature experts. Nonetheless, scientists are still closely investigating the skeleton of this rare and “magical” animal. Unicorns aren’t real, of course, but one deer that suffered a strange injury is believed to have had a single horn — in reality a deformed antler — sprouting from the upper middle of its head.
Anomalies such as these are exceedingly uncommon. The roe deer in question was shot and killed by a Slovenian hunter. After realizing that his find was something highly unusual, he brought it to local officials, who determined that the uncommon animal looked more like a unicorn than a regular deer. Due to a stunting wound when the deer’s antlers began to grow, the animal had only one horn that protruded forward, the beast’s skeleton reveals this week.
The “unicorn’s” memory will live on in the memory of at least one expert, as Guns News gives some additional insight into the story. Although misshapen antlers are nothing special in most species of deer, one Slovenian scientist, Dr. Bostjan Pokorny, has come forward to say this particular deer has a rare deformity he has never witnessed before. Pokorny shared in a statement with National Geographic that this specimen’s antlers are not bilaterial (as they normally are), and an old injury resulted in this magical spectacle of a single horn.
“However, in the case of this very untypical and interesting buck, both pedicles, which should be separated, grew up together in one large pedicle,” he said. Not only did the creature have one antler, but for all intents and purposes, it might have actually looked like a horn belonging to one of these mythical creatures.”
The remains of this fantasy creature are not lost entirely. For those who would like to see how this slain deer might have looked firsthand, a photo of its skeleton will be featured in the upcoming Slovenian issue of National Geographic magazine. Hunters are encouraged to shoot and kill many deer in the Eastern nation due to the widespread nature of these animals, but this particular shooting was a sad case.
In a statement provided after the unicorn deer was killed, the unidentified hunter said he only saw the animal from a far distance. As a result, he was unable to tell the beast was so rare or had such an unusual deformity that seems straight out of a fantasy fairy tale. The hunter thought the roe deer simply had a single antler — called a “spike,” a much more common case — and only realized the uniqueness of the creature had done after taking the fatal shot.
A different, but equally unfortunate, deer killing also made headlines earlier this 2014, with an 11-year-old boy shooting an extremely rare albino deer. The beautiful animal’s death was severely criticized by some in the media, while the teen’s “accomplishment” was praised by others. An earlier report (featured in the above video) describes the controversy, while this previous article on the young hunter using a crossbow to slay his prey gives some background to the story.