"It was the size of a labrador retriever".
My late uncle Jackie Moore was a man of few words but when he told a story it always seemed to have an interesting twist.
"It crossed the road in front of us on in San Saba and it had a full eight point rack but it was half the size of a normal whitetail."
He related that account several times and after his passing I mentioned it to my father (his brother) and was shocked at what I heard.
"I saw one of those little bucks down in San Saba too. We hunted the same lease and I saw one there. It was half the size of the other bucks with a full rack."
Considering the Texas Hill Country has some of the nation’s smallest deer, that would put the weight of this tiny buck at around 40 pounds.
After pondering this I started looking for photographic evidence.
Photos of someone holding a super tiny fawn that fits in one's hands circulate on the net and often claim they are whitetail. They are not. Those are muntjac deer which hail from Asia and only get to about 35 pounds at adulthood.
After blogging on this issue last fall a reader sent a photo that is without a doubt the best proof of "micro whitetails" I have ever seen and this is the first time it has been published.
Notice the small buck is in the foreground so it should appear larger than the one in the background. That means this deer is indeed a tiny one and would fit the size description of the ones my Dad and Uncle encountered in Central Texas more than 40 years ago.
In conducting an Internet search on the topic I found several references.
We use to have one where I went to college. Can’t remember what everyone named it but it was a dwarf deer. People would see it all the time and it was about half the size of a normal adult deer as well. These deer were very tame too as they were never hunted in an urban area so you could get fairly close to them. Use to trap deer there and then tackle them so we could put tags in them and do some research. Tried to get the mini but never did get him to go in one of the traps. (From T_3 Kyle on Taxidermy.net)
I was watching some hunting show. I can't remember which one it was, but they showed a midget whitetail buck walking down a trail. It was neat looking, short stubby legs and it had a nice little rack too. (From JMBFishing2008 on Indianasportsman.com)
The Key Deer is the smallest subspecies of whitetail and it is found only in the Florida Keys chain of islands. The next smallest is the Carmen Mountains Whitetail found in a remote mountainous region of West Texas and northern Mexico.
Is there a recessive gene akin to dwarfism in whitetails? Have you seen one of these deer? If you then shoot us over a report or preferably a photo or video link to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Whitetails are the most common large animal in North America and the idea of micro versions running about is truly fascinating.
Chester Moore, Jr.
(Originally published in The Port Arthur News 2015)