This is not a reindeer! Not having any 'reindeer' photos I substituted a photo of a white tailed deer buck for Santa's high-flying sled master of questionable gender. This buck spent a good part of the summer loitering in my tall grass meadow next to my barn -watching me. photo by Jonathan Schechter
In just a few more days good old Santa will herd his reindeer off the hidden bait pile and hook them up to his sleigh. And then it's that long flight from the North Pole; dodging comets, space debris and notifying endless nations of his air space intrusions before their missles launch - -all of this on his way to reach the chimneys in the world that lead to good boys and girls. If that's not enough of a stress factor to make the jolly guy work up a big sweat there are rumors that Rudolph and the rest of the reindeer are all females. Even the fish and wildlife folks in the State of Alaska are getting involved in the gender fray for they know that reindeer are just another name for caribou. Alaska has lots of caribou. Now here is where it gets tricky. The antlers! Alaska biologists know the entire truth, but perhaps fearful of losing their jobs and rocking their politically correct sleigh they refused an interview. Or maybe they were more worried about a certain caribou shooting ex-governor tramping about their tundra with her high powered rifle, not wanting the truth on Santa's fabled creatures from her home state to be exposed.
Here are the facts: Unlike our Michigan deer where only the males sport antlers, in the world of reindeer it is just not so. Reindeer (AKA caribou) are unique in the deer world in the fact that females grow large antlers-- just like the males. That might make uninformed humans and overworked elves assume Santa has an equal rights mix of male and female reindeer pulling the sleigh and Rudolph is 100% male. But not so fast! My relentless fact digging for truth, justice and total disclosure on eight flying reindeer that don't even seem to age disclosed another startling fact: Female caribou keep their antlers from one spring to another while the males drop their antlers in autumn!. And that inconvenient truth leads to an inescapable conclusion: Male reindeer (caribou) are anterless on Christmas Eve. Santa's reindeer still sprout big racks, trophy size antlers! The fact of the matter is now clear. Rudolph is a lady.
I asked Santa for a comment. "No comment." He then mumbled under his breath, "Should have just used elephants with big flappy ears or a bunch of kanagroos to pull my sleigh and be done with this silly willy boy girl antler stuff." ( I think the jolly guy is getting over-worked with an attitude like that. But he knows the truth. And now so do you.)