Jimmy Garrett was hunting on private land in Floyd County near Rome when he shot a seemingly normal deer. It was the morning of Dec. 4, and Jimmy was hunting OTG — on the ground.
At around 8:30 a.m., Jimmy spotted a buck about 65 yards away and shot it with his Marlin 30/30. It would be a few months before this deer’s rare feature was discovered — small fang-like teeth.
“I had no idea the buck had these until my uncle saw them while he was mounting it for me,” Jimmy said.
When Jimmy’s uncle was mounting the deer, months after it had been killed, he noticed the small fang-like teeth inside the skull. This whitetail had upper canine teeth on each side of its top jaw. When his uncle pointed these out to Jimmy, he immediately contacted GON with this pretty rare find.
“I was surprised when my uncle called me to come take a look at the skull,” said Jimmy.
Upper canine teeth are rare in American whitetails, but they are much more common in other species of deer found in Asia.
GON reached out to DNR biologist Charlie Killmaster to get more insight on this abnormality. Charlie said that upper canine teeth in deer are pretty rare and that he only hears of this once or twice a year. He also said that there is not much research on this abnormality or if it the teeth have any other purpose.
When GON interviewed Jimmy about his vampire deer, it was clear he was pretty excited. Because he had never seen anything like it before, he was more than happy to share his story. Jimmy never suspected this average deer would have something as small as teeth make it special.
“I was excited. It’s pretty cool because I’ve never seen anything like this before,” said Jimmy.