Do Female Deer Have Antlers? [Secret Infos Explored]

do female deer have antlers

Have you ever shot a buck and upon reaching near you found it was doe? YES, it has happened with hunters. But not often!

The only reason for this puzzle shooting is the antler’s growth in both sexes.

Do female deer have antlers? Yes but not typically. Doe of reindeer and white-tailed develop antlers but are very rare. Scientifically, you may use the term hermaphrodite for such does. Disturbance of certain hormones is the main reason behind this anomaly.

This article is going to cover all facts related to this confusing game. It will also explore research base studies of this topic done so far. Keep rolling:

Why female deer grow antlers?

She gets antlers only if she has a high level of male testosterone. For this reason, antlered does are mostly hermaphrodite. Both male and female sex organs are present in them.

If you are going for a hunt, you should learn all about the chemistry of antler growth in both males and female deer. It is a bit confusing if you know little.

Science says: Antlers does are not real but hermaphrodite

Scientifically, antlered does are more likely to be females but actually hermaphrodite or pseudohermaphrodites. Let’s see both of them briefly.

Actual Hermaphrodite

This animal has both male or female reproductive organs. It may have outside organs of the male and reproductive tract of females. In some cases, it can deliver fawns also. However, each case is different from others. These deer grow just velvet in some species.


This animal could have an internal organ of one sex only male or female. External organs are always from the opposite sex. Females may have external genitalia of females and internal reproductive systems of males.

In both animals, hormones get to mix up. That is why some of them grow antlers. The size of the antler depends mainly on testosterone levels. If the level is too high then it will grow up like polished branched antler. If the hormone level is too low, it will grow only in velvet.

Antlered Does May Exist: Average Ratio

Yes, it is true to find one. However, the average ratio of true antlered does like the buck is very low. It is about 0.01% or 1 out of 10,000does. Whatever you may say to them, hermaphrodite or female, the fact is that YES it Exists.

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Antlered does are not hunted mostly

According to the latest research in Pensylvanniya 160,000 bucks hunted from 1958  to 1961, a number of antler doe was considerably small. Hunter doesn’t like to kill them. The reason is that the size of the antler doe is small as compared to bucks.

Antlers growth in white-tailed doe

There are certain animals of this species where antlers grow in does also. The number of such does is very less. They shed it in spring because they need a lot of energy to give birth to fawns.

White-tailed doe has two types of antlers – 

Velvet Covered Antlers

Just like males, antlers of the doe are covered by soft hairs called velvet. Such animals bear fawn and have well developed reproductive system. They behave as normal does.

do female red deer have antlers

Polished Antlers

This type of antler is polished not covered with velvet. These animals behave like a male because they are pseudo-hermaphrodite. However, they have external genitals of the female and reproductive system of the male. 

Antlers growth in female reindeer 

Reindeer differs from other species in a way that antlers develop in both males and females. A research was carried out on the fact that antler growth is possible only in the absence of gonad.

It is untrue that all reindeer do bear antlers. However, most of them grow these branches horny spikes but not all.

The biology of deer is a very interesting book to read in this context.

Frequently Asked Questions (Faq)

How can you tell a male from a female deer?

Male form of female deer will be hermaphrodites scientifically. This animal will have external sex organs of male and internal of the female.

What is a doe with antlers called?

Doe with antlers is called a doe. However scientifically they are not real does but hermaphrodites.

Do female whitetail deer have antlers?

Yes but very rare. Females of reindeer and white-tailed grow them if their testosterone level is quite high and very rare. About 1 out of 10,000 does of white-tailed has antler.

Do female deer have antlers in the winter?

Mostly doe grow antler in the fall and shed it off before spring. This is because they need the energy to give birth.

How rare is a doe with antlers?

About 1 out 10,000 does grow them. In reindeer and white-tailed there is clear evidence of does with antlers.

Do female red deer have antlers?

No, only reindeer and white-tailed doe grow antlers. Other species have no clear evidence like that.


Hopefully, do female deer have antlers articles will cover all the topics related to this anomaly in several species of deer. Simply, YES it is possible to find doe with this structure on its head. But the number of such does is very less as compared to normal ones. You may regard this phenomenon as a birth defect or the result of genetic mutation.

More research is needed to be done to find what happens with other species as well. If you find these details informative don’t forget to share it with your friends. There are also related many questions like do female elk have antlers, do female moose have antlers, etc.


Roland Carroll

Hi, This is Roland. I love Hunting and it's my hobby. I love to share my hunting experience in this blog. Keep reading all the articles here and let me know what do you think about this site.

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