A recent Reuters news story out of Whitehorse tells of a hunter who found himself on the horns of a dilemma. The horns actually belonged to a moose shot by the hunter in the Yukon Territory and this is where the tale gets interesting. One would normally expect such a moose to be male, but there was some cow to this bull.

To his great surprise, the hunter had shot a hermaphrodite moose. “The hunter shot it, thinking it was a bull. When he got closer, he saw that things weren’t as they should have been, or as he expected,” said Rick Ward, a moose biologist for the Yukon government.

“It was a hermaphroditic moose. It was a female with antlers,” said Ward, who added he had never come across anything like it in 25 years working as a biologist – 15 of which have been spent studying moose. Ward said that the odds of finding such a creature are very low, “It’s about the same as finding hermaphrodites in humans.”

The vast Yukon Territory has a population of about 30,000 people, an equal number of bears and twice as many moose. Hunting of male moose is permitted for three months during the fall hunting season, but there are steep fines levied to hunters who shoot females. The hunter in this case, who contacted wildlife authorities after realising the rather unique situation that he had on his hands, was not fined according to Ward.