Have you ever seen “fangs” on a deer? Some deer do have maxillary canine teeth in the upper jaw, or upper canines, but they are rare. All deer have canine teeth on the bottom, though.
Richard Demler, a taxidermist in Michigan’s upper peninsula, was doing work on a whitetail buck (pictured above) and noticed it had upper canines. “I did two [bucks] a couple years ago with upper canines and found out later they were killed less than a mile apart,” recalled Demler.
These cases of deer with upper canines stem from pre-historic genetics. Even though the genetic link to various small Asian deer (aka Muntjacs), that have prolonged canine teeth that appear tusk-like and can grow upwards of 3 inches, has weakened, some deer still carry the gene.
If you are one of the lucky few who harvest a buck with upper canines, then be sure to hold onto it. Many hunters spend their entire lives trying to find this particular feature on a deer they harvest.
Below are some pictures of some types of deer with “fangs”: