When Do Deer Shed Thier Antlers

When Do Deer Shed Their Antlers?

You’ve probably even seen a deer‘s magnificent antlers and questioned how very much they weigh.

When we see a deer shed its antlers, we may be concerned that the living creature is in distress. This begs the question of how and when antlers shed.

Antlers are simply bone fragments that develop beyond the deer‘s body. They develop from a deer‘s pedicles. Antler size varies due to nutrients, genetic factors, age, feeding, and breed. 

They develop at various rates and abilities depending on the breed, but they bring up at a half-inch each day. During the mating process, mule deer and moose utilise them. They compete for a female partner and suitable ecosystem.

Early age, just at age of ten months, antlers begin to develop. Antler development and removal is a regular occurrence in deer. Each year, most breeds dropped their antlers. It causes no discomfort to the animals. This happens from the start of the cold weather until the end of March. They do not shed their antlers then after. Hunters kill bucks for their antlers, which is unethical.

What Are Antlers?

You’ve probably heard the words antler and horn used synonymously. Even so, antlers and horns are made of very specific components and develop on very various creatures!

Goats, sheep, or other representatives of the Bovidae family have a bony centre with a surface of blood vessels and a layer of keratin on the pinnacle. Horns are frequently constantly increasing throughout the life of an animal.

Antlers, on the other hand, are composed primarily of bone, and the animal shacks and regenerates them annually. Antlers are produced by almost all 47 lifeforms in the Cervidae family, as well recognised as the deer family. The Chinese water deer is the sole exception, as it has lengthened fangs rather than.

Antlers’ Function

Numerous concepts have been proposed to describe the dynamic approach of antlers in certain male members of the deer family. 4 of these concepts are discussed further below.

  • Male quality signal

Antlers are believed to act as a visual reference to female deer signalling wellness and biological efficiency as they are primarily expanded by male deer. If it were correct, females might use antlers to evaluate the qualities of prospective suitors. 

This concept is supported by recent studies. High variability in antler value, on the other hand, could not be a useful indicator of interbreeding accomplishment. Relate to the antlers section in Science and Governance of White-tailed Deer for more information on antler advancement and hypotheses on the reason for antlers.

  • The weapon used in combat with other males

Male deer utilise one‘s antlers to combat and create supremacy above other male deer during the mating process. Male deer will frequently seal antlers and force each other to evaluate who is the strongest, instituting a hierarchal structure among animals in the wild.

  • Demonstrate dominance

The dimension of deer antlers has been assumed to show maturity-level supremacy among males without any of the males being required to fight. If it was true, a supremacy hierarchy inside the male section of the flock might be formed even without danger of death or serious harm. Even so, present research doesn’t back antler size as a predictor of supremacy in individual white-tailed deer.

  • Protection against wild animals

Several scientists believe that antlers are used by deer to protect themself against wild animals because they can cause serious damage. However this concept could be correct, this could imply that females are often defenceless and males are defenceless after their antlers have dropped and throughout the antler expansion stage.

How antlers develop?

Antlers on deer develop and drop every year. Males usually start producing new antlers in early summer. The pedicle, which is the antler-growing base connected to the skeleton, is where growth begins. Hormones affect antler development, which is monitored by light cycle (day length). The antler growth phase aligns with the mating process, allowing males to toughen their antlers in preparation for combating other males and creating supremacy and spawning perks.

Increasing day length corresponds to a decrease in the production of melatonin, which starts the hormone phases that cause antler expansion. Antlers possess a very rich blood supply and are coated with a feathery reverse osmosis membrane as velvet during the spring and summer months. 

Antlers are especially susceptible to damage whereas “in velvet,” and cuts or abrasions sustained during this time frequently outcome in malformed antlers. Rising antlers have a high amount of water and a limited amount of dry matter.

Throughout this phase, the dry mass fraction is composed of 80% protein and 20% ash (primarily calcium and phosphorus). By July, antler development has slowed and the antlers have begun to ionise, or toughen. Development is accomplished in early August or early September, and blood circulation towards the antlers halts. 

During the mating process, this action produces the velvet to dry, which is then peeled or started rubbing off, culminating in refined, hard antlers. The velvet sheds quickly, generally in far less than 2 days.

 The velvet would then drop off on its own and yet rubbing antlers on tiny trees bushes or indeed dense vegetation will hasten the procedure. All through the mating process, healthy individuals keep their hard-core antlers.

Hardcore antlers have a high amount of dry material and a limited moisture content, so their change will occur. The dry matter material of hardcore antlers is approximately 60% ash and 40% protein. 

Cells begin to de-mineralize the bone in between the pedicle and antler just after the mating process, having caused the antler’s linkage with the cranium to destabilise and the antler to drop off. 

Antler-drop timing varies, however on mean, several males lost their antlers in late November and the majority lost them by march. When a deer loses its antlers, new growth starts shortly, but observable antler expansion may take a while. Shed antlers are so often hard to locate in the forest as they are rich in protein and calcium phosphate and thus are rapidly ingested by rodents.

Possibilities for antler deformity

As a result of damage, white-tailed deer may develop malformed antlers. Antler imperfections can be caused by leg, pedicle, or velvet incidents. These antler distortions can be momentary or long lasting, based on the nature and extent of the damage. Nontypical antler expansion could be due to a genetic proclivity for unusual fragmentation, that is common on both antlers.

  • Pedicle damage

Whatever damage to the pedicle can cause a malformed antler. Pedicle incidents are frequently the outcome of fights with those other males or mishaps.

 Due to the battle that happens among adult males, populaces with such a elevated number of elderly males could have a larger percentage of pedicle harm. Serious pedicle injuries can cause antler delamination in subsequent years.

  • Velvet ailment

As said before, antlers seem to be very gentle in during expansion stage and thus susceptible to harm. Velvet damage can result in hard core antler delamination, such as simple details recognised as “kicker” or “sticker” points. 

A few velvet incidents could consequence in an unusually bent antler due to a velvet harm which was capable of maintaining its blood flow and solidified into such a refined antler. Severe velvet damage can result in the rupture and damage of a main lobe, point, or the whole antler. Males who sustain such harm usually heal completely the succeeding year and develop a standard set of antlers. Even so, these incidents can become infected, potentially resulting in health issues.

  • Leg wound

Foot injuries, which are common in deer-vehicle collisions, could also induce antler deflections. Antler deflection on the exact edge as the harm is common with the front foot injuries — for example, a front left leg harm will actually impact the left antler. 

Rear leg injuries are accompanied by antler deflection on the contrary direction — for example, a rear left foot injury will influence the right antler. Based on the intensity, leg injuries could consequence in antler deflections in subsequent years, or the deer may start recovering. 

The biological basis guiding this connection among leg injuries and antler deflections is unknown, although it is believed to be linked to redeploying nutrition towards leg injury recovery rather than antler development.

Antler Size Influencing Factors

The critical parameters influencing antler size in a white-tailed deer are age, diet, and genetics. Refer to MU Extension publication G9480, Implementing Quality Deer Management on Your Land, to understand how each of these variables contribute deer antler and body size.

  • Age

Male antlers grow bulkier and more established as they mature. The existence of “buttons” on the antlers of male fawns, or “button bucks,” is usually observable at four to five months of age. 

Males develop their first observable antlers at 1-1/2 years of age (yearlings), that can vary in size from peaks to 10 or even more antler points. Males boost their antler size on estimate up to 6-1/2 years old, when antler development is at its peak.

  • Nutrition

White-tailed deer expend a lot of energy on antler development and casting. Antlers reflect a person’s diet, particularly protein and increased alertness. A distinction of 8% and 16% protein in a deer’s food at 4 years old can result in a 20-inch distinction in antler size. 

Even though the impacts of mineral stages on antler size have not been studied, calcium and phosphorus amounts are known to play a role in antler growth. 

  • Genetics 

The capacity for antler advancement in a white-tailed deer is monitored by its specific DNA, or genetics, but while optimal diet is needed to convey this genetic basis. The genetic material of both parents influences a deer’s genetic basis, which can affect antler shape, structure, and size prospects.


Shed antlers can be discovered in three distinct types of wildlife habitats:

1. Bedding locations

Bedding places are generally densely forested zones in which creatures spend the majority of their time relaxing and cowering from wild animals. Deer and big game prefer to sleep in grasslands, wooded thickets, and densely forested compartments of timber. 

When winter comes, these creatures chose south-facing hills to reveal theirself to the most natural light, increasing their outer body temperature and preserving energy.

2. Feeding points

In overall, shedding starts around a couple of months well after rut, around the time that bucks, exhausted by the rigours of the rut, pursue out intense food supply. It stands to reason that you should begin your lookup within and near eating places. 

Farmlands, food plots, cutovers, orchards, and oak ridges or soles with close to the end mast trees are examples. Take a glance for corners with plunges, depressions, ravine heads, and low areas protected from winds blowing in and near feeding places. – bedding areas, because these are frequently dependable big shed manufacturers

3. Travel routes

Travel hallways are generally described as paths that lead away from eating places and towards thick bedding areas. Glance for shelter in places in which a deer would have to climb through or above anything, such as a railing, which could jar antlers loose.

Hunting can help you find these areas of high and ensure that you get the most of of the antlers on a land. It is ideal to search for antlers in bedding cover late in a day, once deer leave renowned bedding cover to view food supply. Pursue paths into dense cover and keep an eye out for deer beds and places where they can take shelter from cold weather. Deer seek winter relaxation on both south-facing hillsides and closely packed hide.

You may also offer additional fodder to local deer if you possess or handle your own land. Maintaining them near to a special diet supplier boosts the likelihood that they will drop antlers in easily accessible locations. 

Inspect your country’s animals eating regulations and develop a programme which not only offers the finest deer nutrient but also lasts the entire session. You are not going to start a meal sequence and afterwards abruptly end this when deer are still stressed during the winter.

Your tactic must include hay bales, vitamin supplements, and equitable deer food. Additional feeding should never be utilized place of a well-balanced diet, and though minerals such as calcium and phosphorus can support potential antler development as well as help does prepare to nourish infant fawns.

Wrap Up

White-tailed deer have incredible antlers. Property owners, scavengers, and supervisors who recognise the science of antlers and the factors that promote their development can maintain deer communities on their land more successfully.

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