Saturday, January 10, 2009

Camera Critters: Whitetail Deer-The Antlers Are Shed

Whitetail bucks shed their antlers each year after the rut. The buck featured in Wednesday's post still had both antlers as of Thursday morning. I was unable to check on the deer that evening, but when I arrived on Friday morning, I found that he had shed the largest antler.

It seems that the smaller bucks in this area usually shed during Christmas week or somewhat later, with the largest often being among the last to shed. I have seen bucks with antlers in early to mid-February and have heard of them still having antlers in early April, but it seems that most have lost them by mid-February.

I arrived shortly before dawn this morning and is it began to break day, the buck arrived and I could plainly see that he still had one antler. Within ten minutes it became light enough that I decided to set the cameras up and as I was doing so, I was astonished to notice that he now had no antlers at all.


An even closer inspection revealed the raw pedicel where the antler is attached to the skull. Had I been paying closer attention it is possible that I could have seen the antler fall off.

Stay tuned for the next post when we search for the shed antler.

For more Camera Critters photographs, click Here!

19 comments:

Your EG Tour Guide said...

Willard: Too bad you missed the antler falling off but still it's interesting to see what the deer's head looks like immediately after an antler has fallen. I wonder if it hurts when it breaks off or if it feels more like a relief to the deer that it's gone. Hmmm.

Sara G said...

Great photo's Willard!!
Your pictures are just amazing. Just love your site.

Kerri said...

He looks a little like a unicorn in that first shot. Amazing capture in that last shot.

I was wondering the same as EG above....I wonder if it hurts when it falls off?

Carletta said...

Awesome shots!
Great post. I've been wondering about my yard visitors. We actually found one antler right before Christmas. There were three bucks in the yard today with antlers. I'm going to watch more closely now that I've seen your post.
So glad you visited today.

Karen said...

Those are great photos...

My sister-in-law (in New Zealand) had a property that backed right into the bush. The deer used to come right down into the back yard. made for some great photographs and we used to find the occasional antler.

We would often watch them rubbing their heads against tree trunks. I think that helped break the antlers off.

The Birdlady said...

Now that would have been quite a movie! His head looks sore - is it?

theArthurClan said...

Really neat photos! Thanks for sharing them with Camera Critters.

~Angie
www.thearthurclanphotos.blogspot.com

Mimi said...

That looks painful. Do we humans know if this hurts them or is it more like just breaking a nail.

Great shots!

People with Cameras said...

Awww...that looks like it hurts!

These are such beautiful animals and your photos are wonderful!

Dianne said...

I love their faces!!

Willard said...

As best as I can tell the process is not painful. The animal seems to ignore it completely.

I have heard of bull elk that have lost one antler, being bothered by the remaining antler and thrashing it against trees etc. attempting to get it to fall off too. This is likely because the antlers in this case are so huge as to make their head very unbalanced, but in the case of a small buck such as this that factor would not enter in. Within a short time a scab forms over the pedicel and it will remain almost invisible until antler growth begins again in March or early April.

i beati said...

educational to me Thanks Sandy

fishing guy said...

Willard: Amazing photos and story, you do a great job with your camera.
We ended up with 14" of snow and it is cold and snowy all next week.

DeeMom said...

kewl

hope you find it before the field mice have at it

kjpweb said...

Great shots Willard! Excellent detail as always!
Cheers, Klaus

P.S.: I'm finally back from my hiatus and will be posting a boatload of new stuff! ;)

Leedra said...

Great post, with great information and photographs.

I have started a new blog, hope you will follow it along with the
1st one. The new one is the one I will be posting at daily, but will still be using the original blog.

Leedra’s Photos For Fun
Photography By Leedra

Ken Conger Photography said...

Well not to many can say they were present when this happens. Kudos, excellent series. Always a pleasure to visit. Blue Skies.

Bradley Myers said...

What a great time to be out, it is amazing that you were there for one photo with the antler and the next without.

Like I said recently I can look at young bucks and does as easily as large rack bucks.

Misty Dawn said...

WOW! You witness the most amazing and awesome moments in nature! I'm so glad you have a camera so you can share those moments with us.