Julie Carrow was shooting senior portraits last week in Pipestone when a horrific sight grazed by.
"This deer casually wandered past us," the nurse/photographer recalls. "He did not appear in any distress or malnourished, though I couldn't see his eyes."
That's because massive wart-like bumps were blotting out the deer's eyes, as well as much of its neck and chest.
Carrow snapped some photos and notified the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. Her friend shared the images via Facebook group Big Bone Outdoors, which led to 7,000-plus shares.
So what the hell's going on with that poor deer?
A nasty case of fibromas. In fact, the DNR's Michelle Carstensen tells us it's the worst case she's witnessed during her 15 years with the state wildlife health program. The deer's vision and movement are likely impacted by the bumps, she says, making escape from a predator much more challenging.
"It’s possible these will regress and he’ll survive this," Carstensen explains. "But it's also possible he becomes an easy prey item in the meantime."
Fibromas is caused by a virus called papillomavirus (in humans, that's HPV). It's not a major deer killer and doesn't infect humans or other animals, according to Michigan DNR, but it's (quite clearly) pretty gross cosmetically.
"Though they don't harm the meat, fibromas are repulsive to most persons and therefore render a fine trophy aesthetically undesirable," according to Michigan's DNR website.
Here's another sad, sad look, courtesy of Carrow: