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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-07-2017, 08:41 AM Thread Starter
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Curious

I honestly have never thought of this before, but we had a conversation at work the other day that got me to thinking.


Does the date that a deer sheds its antlers affect when they start growing new ones? And if yes, if a deer holds really late in the year, does that affect antler size on the following set?


My thought was no, because the antlers start out so slow. I was just wondering if anyone on here had any insight.

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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-07-2017, 08:51 AM
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I was looking at my pics from last year and the first one I can see any nubs in is from May. I'm sure some were showing somewhere in the state in April, but not on my cams. I would think even if they held into early April it shouldn't matter because not much is happening as far as growth at that time.
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-07-2017, 10:07 AM
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I often thought about myself, my thoughts is that when a buck drops his antlers is because the new antlers are pushing up and loosening the old ones and they eventually drop off. I could be wrong about that......I`m sure someone here on HPA knows for sure....


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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-07-2017, 10:10 AM Thread Starter
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If I am not mistaken, an elk sheds that way. I am pretty sure I have read on here and elsewhere that it is hormone driven in Whitetails and new antler growth only begins once that hormone activates?

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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-08-2017, 12:45 PM
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I would say no. Some interplay of photoperiod and general health cause hormonal changes which in turn cause changes to the pedicle and the antler drops. Every shed buck I've seen up until about mid April just has the bare pedicle, I've never personally seen antler growth in March. Then growth seems to be pretty slow until it absolutely takes off in late May and June. Barring some overriding health condition and possible rare quirks I would reason on that there is no correlation between drop date and growth the following season.
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-08-2017, 02:15 PM
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Deer generally shed their antlers between December and March depending on a number of factors that range from the general health of the buck to changes in the snow depth or other environmental conditions. Some of those factors can change from year to year too so a buck that lost its antlers early one year could hold them until late the next year or vice versa.

After they shed they will have a scab over the pedicel until the new antler starts to grow in late March to mid-April. When the new growth starts on the individual buck generally depends on the health and age of the buck. A month or even a few weeks difference in the birth date can make a big difference in antler growth in both time and size during the early years for a buck.

A buck can grow a half inch of new antler per day during the peak of the growth period. An elk can grow an inch or more in a single day. Scientists study antler growth because it is bone just like the bones in our body. If they could figure out how to make our bones grow as fast as an antler you could break your leg getting out of bed and by the time you finished breakfast could go out and play football. Think what that could mean in traumatic injuries and recovery. But, they would also need to figure out how to stop the growth when they wanted your bones would outgrow your skin within a matter of a day or two and by the end of the week you wouldn’t fit inside your house.

The time of antler shed has nothing to do with when the new antler starts to grow. They a two totally separate yet natural functions.

Dick Bodenhorn
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-08-2017, 03:23 PM Thread Starter
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Good info, Mr Bodenhorn! Thanks a bunch.


One other question:






If I am reading this right, if a deer isn't as healthy (disease, injury, etc) he would probably shed sooner rather than later?

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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-08-2017, 04:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GobbleBuck View Post
Good info, Mr Bodenhorn! Thanks a bunch.


One other question:






If I am reading this right, if a deer isn't as healthy (disease, injury, etc) he would probably shed sooner rather than later?
Yes.

It does require an amount of energy for a buck to retain its antlers so if it is in poor health or starts expending more energy than it is taking in it will shed its antlers earlier to conserve energy.

I remember back in the 1995 we got a couple feet of snow a couple weeks before buck season. The snow kind of declined a little before buck season but there was still plenty of it in most places. Many hunters who harvested bucks that season had the antlers come off as they were dragging their buck out. I suspect there were also a lot of bucks that shed before they were harvested. I also saw more shed antler bucks in the antlerless harvest that year.

I am sure that was a result of those bucks being run down from the rut then with pushing though the deep snow many of the bucks were losing their antlers to start conserving energy. That is just how nature works to help them survive and hopefully be around to reproduce the next year.

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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-08-2017, 05:32 PM
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Lots of guys in this area are still getting pictures of bucks still carrying and I saw a buck Saturday feeding on a gas line and could see his antlers from two hundred yards. That's pretty normal for this area with the amount of fed we have and winter almost none existent the bucks recover fast from the rut and stay healthy. Between now and the end of March most should drop. Some say the bigger mature bucks carry longer and that may be true, but every year some will always drop earlier than others.
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-08-2017, 05:34 PM Thread Starter
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I remember that deer season too, was the year before I was old enough to hunt. My dad and my brother went out that day. When they got home my dad was totally smoked. Turns out my brother could walk on top of the crusted snow but dad would sink in. I can only imagine how hard it was on the deer.

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