Saturday February 10, 2018 I had the pleasure and thee best opportunity to witness Dr. James Kroll, aka “Dr. Deer” in action at the 15th annual Necropsy at Turtle Lake Club in Hillman, MI. Amidst the necropsy procedure, Dr Kroll took a step away from the table to give an impromptu explanation of the vomeronasal organ to debunk the myth as to what bucks use it for.
The vomeronasal organ (VNO) or “Jacobsen’s organ” is located in the roof of a deer’s mouth that extends from the front of the mouth to the sinus and ultimately communicates to the hypothalamus, the part of the brain that regulates hormones. What they do is smell a scent (inorganic or organic) and then curl their top lip demonstrating flehmen posture that moves the scent into the VNO where the scent travels to the hypothalamus. There the deer can analyze the scent to see if pheromones are present. A lot of hunters think it just a smelling technique which it is but it applies to a whole new level of scrutiny to the smell where the deer can decide what to do on a reproductive side, if they need to do anything at all.