A)I can?t give a clear-cut answer, but I am able to eliminate some possibilities. The skull and pedicles appear to be undamaged and there has been no obvious sign of impact damage to the antlers, such as might happen while the buck was in early velvet, though this does remain a possible cause. From what you say about the animal?s condition, it seems that disease is most unlikely to be a causal factor. What are we then left with? As usual, deer have the last laugh and it has probably just grown this bird?s nest of a head to show that we don?t know that much about them, no matter what we may claim.

As you wisely took it to the Game Fair at Scone, the answer to your question about measuring the head is that the two very well-qualified CIC trophy judges gave you the thumbs-up, the large size and obvious weight of the trophy will probably more than make up for any irregularities. Some freak heads cannot be measured for a variety of reasons, so I am delighted that there is no problem in this direction once it is properly dried out. I will be very interested to know the result when it is eventually scored.