Thursday, April 3, 2008

Antler Growth Begins: Whitetail Deer

Another Sign of Spring

As the days grow longer and warmer, the whitetail bucks antlers start to develop. Progress varies from area to area and also depends on the age and physical condition of the deer. Many deer in Fulton County are much smaller than animals of the same age in Shenandoah Park.

This is a typical Fulton County button buck in excellent condition. Although new growth is not yet visible past the end of the hair which encloses the bases, I can tell that the bumps are much more prominent than they were a short time ago. Within a few weeks, the new growth should be plainly visible. Mature bucks should have plainly visible growth by now, but these animals are difficult to see in this area in the spring. In some cases they still have not shed last years antlers, although most do lose them in early February.

Canon 40D: 300mmF4

He should grow antlers ranging from two individual points per side, known as spikes, to a maximum of six points. Six points is the exception and not the rule, with most being spikes or four-points. In the east we count total points when describing an animal.