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Frankendeer? Monstrous growths on white-tailed deer are turning stomachs in Alabama

Frightening-looking growths are popping up on Alabama’s white-tailed deer, and state wildlife officials say they have an explanation for the stomach-turning affliction.

The Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division acknowledged the issue Tuesday, sharing photos of a buck found southeast of Tuscaloosa with bubble-like clusters on its head, neck and shoulders.

The growths are a type of virus known as “deer warts,” and they can get so big “they flop over the eyes” of deer, impairing their vision, officials said.

“Cutaneous fibromas are hairless tumors found on the skin of white-tailed deer,” the department posted.

“Deer may have only one or two of the fibromas, or the growths can be much more numerous and even occur in clumps. ... Transmission from deer to deer is thought to occur from biting insects and possibly by direct contact with contaminated materials to an abrasion in the skin.”


State officials didn’t say if the condition is more widespread than in years past.

But they did say humans and farm animals can’t get the virus from deer and the condition is known to clear up, if given enough time.

“Deer with warts may look icky, but the meat is still fine. Only a large tumor with secondary bacterial infection (i.e., oozing pus) would cause meat to be unfit for human consumption,” the state posted.

A lot of hunters weren’t buying that, however.

Within hours, sportsmen were sharing their own photos of similarly afflicted deer, one showing an animal with a bed of the growths on its back.

Some hunters complained the deer smelled so bad, they were afraid to eat them.

“Ain’t no way I could eat that meat,” posted Lee Bo Langston on the state’s Facebook page.

“I’m not shooting something that looks like that,” said another commenter.

“Killed one a few years ago in Russell County with more than this on him. I threw the whole deer away. Something was wrong with it,” wrote Wil Blackshear, adding that no other animals would eat the carcass as it sat on his property.

“No buzzards, coyotes, nothing. It laid there till it rot.”

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