Since I had walked this same deer trail the morning before, I knew that the antler was a fresh drop. Like so much that happens in the cycle of the whitetail’s year, the timing of bucks shedding their antler velvet is closely tied to photoperiod (the number of hours of daylight in a day). Summer Food Plots Before & After, The Deer Hunter’s Guide to Finding a Forester. Thus, the start date varies slightly, but it is always in late August. Antlers are cool, but white-tailed deer are amazing in their own right. However, there are a … Site by Gray Loon. Driven by increasing day-length (photoperiodism), a mature buck’s antler growth begins around April 1 in the North and ends when velvet is peeled around September 1. What are Antlers Made Of? It is a rare event when a buck will peel his velvet in less than three hours. They are bone that grows in the fall. Although a buck in velvet rubs their antlers on trees, this is not because the shedding is itchy. And the hard antlers frequently look brown but that is really dried blood that gives them that color. Older-age-class cryptorchids can grow to become true freaks, known as “cactus bucks.” If you see a stag in the woods, take him, you’ll have a rare and interesting trophy. Antlers are comprised of tissue that has a bone-like texture, somewhat similar to honeycomb. However, those that do subject themselves to a tremendous amount of stress. The rate at which a buck’s antlers grow depends on factors such as genetics, health, age, stress, soil quality and overall quality of natural and agricultural habitat. And they does rub off when they go into tree rubbing mode. In August/September the deer rub off the velvet to reveal the hard bone antlers. In fact, I’ve seen an older age class buck with no sign of shedding velvet that was sporting completely clean antlers within 22 hours! Check out our stories, videos and hard-hitting how-to's on bowhunting, too. However, given that I conducted the trail-camera surveys using the same method at the same five bait sites at the same relative time for each of the years listed, and photographed an average of 20 unique bucks each year, I’m pretty confident the bucks using my family’s property shed earlier than usual this year. From the time they begin growing around April 1, until about July 15, a buck’s antlers are bulbous and pliable. Decreasing photoperiod in late summer triggers increasing testosterone levels, which leads to antler hardening and then velvet shedding. See photos of these two bucks in the Gallery below. The third buck (1.5 years) shed on August 28. The fuzzy antlers can continue to grow as the animal matures. During the 25 years I’ve raised whitetails to study behavior and nutritional needs, the earliest I had a buck reach maximum antler growth was six and the oldest was nine, with the average age being seven. During the final weeks of August, the flow of blood in the velvet is reduced as a result of the constriction in these vessels in the area around the base of the antlers. When you see deer with fuzzy antlers, you are seeing a deer in velvet. When the antlers are ready to be shed, the blood supply is automatically cut off. The five British deer species which carry antlers replace them every year. The antler regeneration and shedding cycle … Journal of Anatomy 207:603-618 and Biology and Management of White-tailed Deer 113). The buck referenced in the story above has antlers covered in velvet, so the testosterone levels are low and have remained low over several years. In fact, I’ve seen an older age class buck with no sign of shedding velvet that was sporting completely clean antlers within 22 hours! When testosterone levels decrease, usually in late winter, their antlers fall off. Antlers are cool, but white-tailed deer … Because the velvet consists of blood vessels, the antlers are warm to the touch and only slightly cooler than a whitetail’s 101-degree body temperature. VIDEO: Let the Deer Eat! During this 30-day period, antler growth explodes. The cue for antler hardening and velvet shedding is the change in photo-period caused by decreasing daylight and increasing darkness, which results in a significant increase in the bucks’ testosterone. Sometime between September 1 and 15 bucks will shed their velvet. In extreme cases both testicles remain in the … Some large bucks shed the velvet in late August, in Pennsylvania while most of the smaller ones do not shed until mid-September. A little blood, still red, was visible where the antler had become detached from its pedicle — further validating its freshness. Once the growth process is complete in early August, the antler calcification process begins. This is one of the best times you could possibly hunt mule deer. By fall, antlers are fully grown and the bone cells die. As the antler grows, a soft tissue, known as velvet, containing veins and arteries covers the antlers and feeds nutrients to the growing bone structure. At 4 years old he scored 257" SCi Gross and 227" SCI Net. Once the velvet is gone the antlers no longer have any blood in them. When growth is complete the velvet is rubbed off and the antler is described as clean. I conduct an annual 14-day baited trail-camera survey every summer that always ends Labor Day weekend. Mule deer bucks in full velvet are an awesome site … If he can’t, he will try to shed the velvet as fast as possible. Interestingly, bucks began shedding a full week earlier this year where I hunt in north-central Pennsylvania. Most bucks in the North are finished growing their antlers by August 10 when blood flow to the antlers ceases and the velvet begins dying and degrading. Older-age-class cryptorchids can grow to become true freaks, known as “cactus bucks.” If you see a stag in the woods, take him, you’ll have a rare and interesting trophy. when I say velvet is lost fast, I mean fast. As if it itching and they want to get rid of it as quickly as possible. If a buck is mature and has everything going for him, his antlers might grow a half to one or more inches per day, especially from June 15 to July 15, when day length is greatest. Do Deer Eat Its Velvet? It can take as little as 24-48 hours for the antlers to actually fall off, but the shedding process takes between two to three weeks and then new antlers will regenerate throughout the summer.. I disagree, as we are dry, but we’re much luckier than most of the country, and we’ve had more rain this summer than we did during summer 2011. By fall, the antlers are fully grown, but the velvet coat starts to itch. Deer need protein and minerals to grow the antlers. Antlers are dropped, or cast, and grow back over a period of months while covered in a furry skin called velvet. A stag doesn’t shed his antlers; they remain in velvet year-round. It can take as little as 24-48 hours for the antlers to actually fall off, but the shedding process takes between two to three weeks and then new antlers will regenerate throughout the summer. The fuzzy antlers can continue to grow as the animal matures. During the growing process, blood flows through a series of veins and arteries, and forms a protein base upon which minerals are deposited (see accompanying photo adapted from Price, J.S. The velvets during the growth of the antlers are very sensitive but at the end of the process, when they fall, the deer often rub them against trunks or others. When day length reaches a certain point (around April 1 in the North) blood begins flowing to the pedicle and antlers begin growing, always from the center of the beam or tine. 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