Saturday, January 2, 2010

Whitetail Antlers Are Shed

Whitetail bucks grow new antlers each year. Antler growth begins in March and rapidly accelerates in May. They reach full size by early August. Most bucks shed the velvet from late August to mid-September.

Antlers are used as weapons during the fall mating season, when bucks clash with other animals to establish dominance. Some bucks lose their antlers as soon as early December, while others retain them into March or early April.

Over the years it seems that most bucks in the herd of deer that often grace these pages, shed their antlers during the last few days of December or early in the first week of January.

The eight-point which we have featuring frequently during the past year, (he was shot by poachers in early October, but recovered) was seen with both antlers still present on December 29th.

Whitetail Buck In Winter

Coy Hill of Country Captures and I were watching him and discussing that he would soon shed his antlers and we were musing how interesting it would be to actually see one fall off. At one point he left in pursuit of a doe and then returned within a few minutes with his right antler missing. That was just how close we were to actually seeing the event.

Bleeding Antler Base Or Pedicel A Few Moments After Shedding

Sometimes the animals cast both antlers simultaneously, and they often lose the other within a day of losing the first, but that was not the case in this instance. He still had the left antler on the following morning, but now the pedicel was dark in coloration and a scab was forming.

The Morning After

This buck did not shed the other antler until the night of December 31st, but that is a subject for another day.

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15 comments:

ellen said...

What a great entry you have! Wishing you all the best this year. God Bless you and your family.

Mine is up! Hope to see you. Your comment is much appreciated.

T and S said...

Beautiful post capturing animal behavior and lovely images too.

Happy new year to you Willard...Thomas

Rajesh said...

Interesting information on white tail antlers and beautiful snaps.
Critters @ Bikaner, Camel country

Adrienne in Ohio said...

That's interesting, Willard. I wonder if it hurts when the antlers fall off--if it's something like a child losing a baby tooth.

rinelle said...

awesome! wishing you all the best in 2010! mine is up. see yah.

eileeninmd said...

How cool, to see the pedicel up close. You got some great shots of the deer with the one antler. Awesome photos and info.

imac said...

Beautiful shots Willard, good luck for 2010.

SaraG said...

Great post and photo's Willard
John found a buck that had been hit by a car (probably hit at least a couple weeks before he found it. Coyotes had been snacking on him) and cut the scalp/antlers off. It was a real nice seven pointer who had really thick beams. I will take a pic and post.

Brad Myers said...

Fantastic reporting and photography as always Willard.

I hope you and your family had a safe and joyous holiday season and I also hope we get to do some shooting together again this year.

Philip said...

Happy New year Willard :) some great shots and info with the cold weather when the Deer sheds does this not reduce infection on the sore before they regrow again

sfriel said...

Willard, Great post as always. Wishing you and your family a very happy new year!

HANNIBAL said...

Ahh, you did it again! Getting those moments most will never see! I don't even ever see scabby bucks let alone a fresh drop! Great illustrative post again!

Ranger said...

Good pictures bud. I hope you are able to find the sheds, that would be great. if you do manage to find them I know who has some nice walnut wood to mount them on.

Stacey Huston said...

And so the seasons change.. Great post as always Willard.. hope 2010 is treating you well

This Is My Blog - fishing guy said...

Willard: Excellent captures.