The sighting of quadruplets in Kamiah begs the question, just how rare is it for deer to have quadruplets?
According to big game biologist Bill Jensen of the North Dakota Game and Fish, the odds of a doe having triplets is a mere two percent.
But quadruplets stretch the math to odds of incredulity. Jensen reported to the Grand Forks Herald in North Dakota that of all the game literature he scoured he found only six cases of whitetail quadruplets in the entire country dating as far back as 1849.
It was just five years ago in May of 2012 that North Dakota achieved its first documented case of quadruplets. Biologists were performing a study to document deer movement when a mother that had been fitted with a transmitter was found with her four fawns. All died soon thereafter.
Officials believed the very old doe died as a result of bad teeth and an enlarged heart. The doe had no front teeth, making foraging difficult if not impossible and increasing the likelihood of infection. Without the mother’s milk supply the fawns starved.
Clay Hickey, wildlife manager for the Idaho Department of Fish & Game’s Clearwater Region based at Lewiston, said he was not aware of any documented cases of white-tail deer quadruplets in Idaho. He said they are quite rare but not unheard of. Although it is not uncommon for a doe to adopt a fawn, Hickey said it is rare for two fawns to be adopted.
Whether or not the Sams observed a doe with two sets of twins or her own set of quadruplets, it’s nonetheless a remarkable experience.