Oh Fang!

Reagan Dupree knew right away something was very unusual with this skull.

Unassuming buck has ancestral trait

Sam Dupree didn’t realize how unique the buck was until it was prepared for a mount.

While working on deer heads for his skull mounting business, Molideaux Mounts, Reagan Dupree, 13, made a rather unusual find. A buck harvested by his uncle, Sam Dupree, in Natchitoches Parish had fangs. This rare genetic phenomenon is a throwback to the whitetail’s Asian ancestors.

Note the fangs on the deer skull.

Only appearing in one of every 20,000 whitetails, these upper jaw canines seem to only make their rare appearances in bucks. The black patches on a modern whitetail’s lower jaw are located exactly where the fangs would have stuck out from the upper jaw in ancestral deer.

Some believe the black line under the jaw accented the white fangs.

Theorists say those patches may have been there to accentuate the white of the ivory canines. The fangs have evolved away, but the patches remain.

In print edition Feb. 4, 2021