NRAHuntersRights.org wants your hunt story for their Members’ Hunt Reports section. Below, meet James P. “Jake” Jacobson:
An Outstanding Sitka Blacktail “Cactus Buck”
I like to eat game meat and fish, and the horns and antlers of the critters that bear them have held my fascination just as their meat has nourished my family.
Since my first hunt with dad, some 62 years ago, I’ve always had it in my consciousness that beyond the next rise or behind the next bush may appear the animal of a lifetime. And I’ve seen that happen several times in my hunting career.
I harvested my first buck in 1957 and my first non-typical buck in 1994. All objects of my hunting pursuits have been unique and special to me, but that non-typical was near the top of the list. It was a bilaterally cryptorchid buck, meaning its testes had not descended from the gut into the scrotum – a cactus buck, as they are often called, with antlers still in velvet in November. In 1995 I harvested three more non-typicals, all cryptorchids, all sterile.
Since then, the percentage of these non-typicals in the areas I hunt has increased exponentially. Since 2003, 74 percent of the bucks taken in one “hot zone” have been sterile cryptorchids.
As I’ve been active as a master guide in northwest arctic Alaska and a transporter in the Kodiak Archipelago for more than 40 years, I had a unique opportunity to put stewardship of our wild game to practice by collecting samples of these abnormal animals and getting the raw samples to people with the abilities to investigate the causes of this fascinating, but alarming, developmental defect. I’ve collected and forwarded samples from more than 330 deer so far to researchers at the University of Guelph (Ontario), Colorado State University, Purdue University and the University of Alaska – Anchorage. I do believe that this widespread and increasing developmental problem threatens our deer population in Alaska.
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