Saturday, September 13, 2008

Whitetail Deer-The Velvet Is Shed


Whitetail bucks have velvet covered antlers from late spring until late summer. This is a network of blood vessels and tissue, which delivers the nutrients needed for growth to the growing antlers.

Some large bucks shed the velvet in late August, in Pennsylvania while most of the smaller ones do not shed until mid-September. In most cases all have completed the process before October arrives.

While the exact sequence of events may vary slightly from animal to animal, first the velvet dries and cracks and drops of blood appear. This situation may exist for a day or more.


Yearling Whitetail Buck-First signs of shedding velvet 9/13/08

As the process continues the velvet peels away, exposing the underlying antler structure. Bucks are quite aggressive at this time and rub the antlers vigorously against trees, vines, brush, or any other object that suits their fancy.


Yearling Buck with vines tangled in antlers 9/8/08

This is not the same buck of course as this one began the process somewhat earlier. This animal was especially aggressive and put on quite a show. The shedding of the velvet marks the beginning of the mating season. At this stage the bucks are mostly preparing for the intense period of mating known as the rut, which will occur from the end of October until December, in Pennsylvania.

Soon the bucks will spar with other bucks. Also at this time many yearling bucks leave the area they were born and move anywhere from 5 to 25 miles away. This is known as dispersal and is a natural phenomena designed to prevent in breeding.

This boy is ready for trouble!

When the process is completed, the animal has a beautiful set of polished antlers. While it is possible for a buck to grow a rack this large in his first year, in most cases it requires over two years in our area to produce a buck like the one below!

This animal has evidently dispersed from another area, as this is my first sighting of him in the spot where I do most of my Pennsylvania photography.

Whitetail Buck ready for the rut!


Visit Camera Critters for more animal photos!

29 comments:

Yen said...

Such beautiful photos! Love the first shot:) Thanks for sharing!~I posted mine too, HERE! Happy CC!~

Misty Dawn said...

Your photos ALWAYS take my breath away!!! Maybe the 'girl' who almost ran me over last weekend was running from one of these fellas ;-)

ratmammy said...

it must be exciting to see these animals so close up! beautiful photos.

Dirk said...

Waw, fantastic pictures!

Nikki-ann said...

Fantastic photos along with great information! Thanks for sharing :)

Norm said...

awesome set of photos! very beautiful..

Dina said...

Such unusual deer expressions!
Thanks for the clear explanation. Now I understand how it all works.

fishing guy said...

Willard: I liked the buck with the weed headdress but that mature buck is really cool.

Tommy said...

Willard this is a great post. I learned so much about the deer and their antlers. Thanks for sharing.

i beati said...

all different looks superb sandy I lived many years near Quakertown

Your EG Tour Guide said...

Ehis is a GREAT series of pictures, Willard. I really enjoyed reading about and actually seeing the antlers as they changed. I had no idea young bucks move 5 to 25 miles from their original homes. Thanks for a great post.

babooshka said...

These are incredible captures. The text is so informative too.

The Birdlady said...

Hi Willard - these are wonderful.."His Majesty" in the last image is so majestic, and the 3rd photo looks like a unicord in a fairy tale....

Ladynred said...

WoW! I wish I could find one in my backyard. These are really awesome shots.
For the Love of Pets

Michele (Rocky Mtn.Girl) said...

Fascinating post... it's nice to know all this information as I see this wildlife roaming around the mountains here... I often think about your posts when I see them here...
Mountain Retreat

lv2scpbk said...

Wonderful photos. Seems like deer is the theme this week for CC. I however went another route if you'd like to take a look.

magiceye said...

wow! that was amazing! the pics and the commentary! thank you.

Pat - An Arkansas Stamper said...

Great photos, Willard, especially the last. I am not surprised that you recognize a 'stranger' in your midst; you must know just about all the deer (and other animals) in your neighborhood. Good on you!

Müge Tekil said...

Thank you for these beautiful photos and informative text. We weren't there with you while you made these shots but examining your photos and reading your article, we feel as if we were there. Have a pleasant Sunday!

HFD60 said...

great images Willard, wish they would cooperate for me like that :o)

Bradley Myers said...

Wow, what another great post and photographs. These are just fantastic. You keep teaching and I will keep learning.

Thanks Brad

T and S said...

Beautiful pictures goes well with the explanation

Kerri said...

You shots are so UNIQUE, Willard! I think it is fascinating that you got the deer with the vines/leaves on his antlers! WOW!

Louise said...

These are fantastic photographs, but the ones I love the most are with the plants tangled in their antlers and covering their faces. It's just funny! Excellent post!

Barking Quill said...

Nice photos. I have never seen a deer with a vine headdress before.

--
http://warriorpoet.org/barkingquill

Abraham Lincoln said...

Really a nice set of photos, Willard. I like them all.

I published a post about squirrels and other animals and some of the problems they have. I hope you can take the time to read it. That animals suffer and we do not seem to notice seems so sad. Look at my Dances on Sunshine

Gretchen said...

Just gorgeous!!!

Abraham Lincoln said...

I take a lot of joy in seeing healthy animals. It just about does me in to see them sick and I am not able to help out. I appreciate your comments on my blog about the sick animals.

Arija said...

What lovely photos you take. That two year old buck is a joy to behold, but my favourite is young Caesar wreathed in a floral tribute!