Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Whitetail Bucks: Shedding Of Velvet Completed

A week ago I featured a segment on the whitetail bucks, and the annual shedding of the velvet. Today we explore the subject in a bit more depth.

After the velvet cracks, it peels off in strips. The photo directly below is actually a strip of velvet that a spike buck just lost. If one looks at the left side they can see how the sheath is shaped like the underlying antler. I pressed the strip against the rough bark of a walnut tree to support it and provide a background to photograph the velvet against.

Shed Velvet-Interior View

Shed Velvet-External View

I hoped to get photos and video of a buck rubbing trees and saplings to remove the velvet, but that was not to be. I did see one animal that still had a few long strands of velvet hanging from one antler. This animal still had velvet at dusk on September 12th, but only a few strips remained the next morning.

Cracked Velvet: 9/12/09 6:45 p.m.

Velvet Hanging In Strips: 9/13/09 7:45 a.m.

Process Almost Complete

With the shedding completed, the bucks feel the stirring of the pre-rut, and move about more. If one frequents the same spot throughout the summer, it is common to see the same bucks over and over again, but as the pre-rut kicks in strange bucks appear.

Mature Whitetail Buck: Likely Three Years Old-First Sighting

While it is always rewarding to be afield, at this time of year the outdoors is particularly exciting as wildlife activity increases dramatically with the onset of the whitetail and elk rutting seasons.


Brad Myers said...

Willard, I always enjoy your lessons. I have learned many things by reading your site. And the photographs are fantastic. The last buck sure is a looker.

Anonymous said...

Very nice photos. I'm sure it bugs them when the velvet hangs over their eyes! The last photo is so beautiful.

Peggy said...

THANKS WILLARD! I love your amazing photos of the velvet. I can almost feel it! I've spent plenty of time in the field, and have seen some rubs here and there, but to find a strip would be the coolest! Thanks for the photos and the info, as I always get an education when I stop by. Keep it up!

imac said...

Amazing Willard, wonderful shots.

This Is My Blog - fishing guy said...

Willard: I've never been in the woods to see this happen, thanks for sharing.

Tom said...

As others have said before me Willard this is a lesson learned today.. I knew about shedding the velvet... but I never imagined it like this at all... to tell the truth I don't know how I imagined it to happen... but not like this.
A great post Willard.... for the pictures and the information... I will always remember this now when ever I hear about shedding.

dev wijewardane said...

great shots. would love to see these animals in the wild some day