Here’s What Happens When A Buck Injures A Velvet Antler

antler injurySpring through September the antler-growing cycle for whitetails is approximately 170 days. This gives a buck many opportunities to catch a velvet antler on a fence, smash it against a tree as he flees danger, etc.  

Antlers grow fast—up to an inch per day in the summer! They have a complex system of blood vessels that carry nutrients through the velvet and down into the core.

When a growing antler is broken, it bleeds profusely, and blood can pool and fill the inside of the velvet. When the hardening of the bone process occurs in September the pooled blood can create a heavy, swollen, club-like antler.

If the injury is to the pedicle (the base of an antler) then the deformity could persist for several sets of antlers or even for the rest of the buck’s life, making him a permanent non-typical. Interesting!

4 Unusual Deer Mounts

Lately some different and unusual mounts have been popping up on social media:

deer mount backpack

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is the first backpack mount I saw, and to my surprise there were many variations of the pack mount on Google images. I suspect these are most popular out West; few hunters in the East pack out a caped buck, though I’m sure it happens when guys hunt deep on a big public area.

deer mount rub tree

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then there is the buck rub mount. I have seen versions of this over the years, but it seems to be making a comeback and is more popular than ever. Again, lots of variations on Google images.

deer mount lick coat

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The buck licking his coat—deer groom themselves regularly—is different and unique, if not a little weird. But to each his own.

deer mount tailgate

 

 

 

 

 

 

The tailgate is my top pick of off-the-wall mounts. Different, but for some reason I kind of like it. I don’t like the 12-pack of regular Miller as an accessory; I’d have made it Miller Lite.

What do you think, which is your favorite? Me, I’ll probably just stick to boring old shoulder mounts.

Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) 2019 Update

cwd map 2019

On this just released CWD tracking map focus on the light-gray blocks, which show the current confirmation of the disease in wild populations of deer. Cases in north Mississippi and west Tennessee are relatively new, as is the gray block in north-central Virginia (Culpeper County), 20 miles from where I hunt.

There are CWD deniers in the hunting industry, but I am not one of them. The scientists and organizations I work with and believe in regard CWD as a real threat with the real potential to disrupt if not decimate deer populations and hunting in the future.

Every year that I look at an updated CWD map, I see the expansion of the nasty disease, and we all must take the threat seriously.

Some of the latest development you need to know:

The Quality Deer Management Association supports ending all transportation of live deer to lower the risk of spreading CWD. This includes deer breeders (no more shipping live deer from one state or region to another) and state wildlife agencies (no more capturing deer, say, in an urban area and moving them to more rural counties).

All states have enacted some version of this law: If you kill a deer in or around a known CWD area, you cannot transport the whole carcass across state lines. At a minimum you must de-bone the meat, and saw off the antlers and clean the skull cap of brain matter before you take it home.

Basically, know that the days of loading a deer in your pickup and driving home will soon be gone. The new normal will be quartering and de-boning your deer, so plan on that.

All health professionals and deer scientists say that if you shoot a deer in or near a known CWD area, have the meat tested before you eat it. Gut and clean the deer, bone out the meat, freeze it and send a sample to a lab as recommended by your state wildlife agency. Don’t consume until you get the word back that it’s CDW free.

Go online and get CWD testing info specific to your state/region and know how to have the meat tested before the 2019 season.

2019 And Beyond: Warm, Wet Weather Means More Snakes

tx sarge snakeI hate snakes and I cannot lie.

Any snakes, from garters to rats to rattlers to moccasins.

Any kind, color or size, I am scared of them all.

My heart rate soared and my blood pressure spiked when I read this:

After a winter (2018-19) that was warmer and wetter than average across much of the U.S., the country needs to be on snake watch…

Snakes like those conditions. Increased populations are expected.

And there is more bad news.

A new study by Stanford University professor Grant Lipman and the University of Colorado’s Caleb Phillips shows that rattlesnakes and other venomous snakes may bite more people after rainy seasons.

The study, which analyzed 20 years of snakebite data, found a significant increase in snakebites the year after a rainy season.

Researchers say that during warm, wet spells, snakes breed more and have more babies. As the babies grow and slither around in their second and third years, that is when people really begin to notice the increase.

snake pile

And that is when we hikers and hunters are apt to encounter more snakes.

Yikes. It has been warm and extremely wet here in Virginia and other parts of the country for the last 2 years, going back to 2017. That’s already at least 3 prime snake breeding seasons.

If this wet and warm weather pattern continues, 2020 could be the Decade of the Snake!

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 7,000 to 8,000 people are bitten by venomous snakes in the United States each year, resulting in about 5 deaths. While your chances of a deadly bite are slim, you need to be vigilant and ready just in case.

That’s why I recently wrote “7 Ways Not To Die From A Rattlesnake Bite” for Outdoor Life. Click over and read it, it couldn’t be timelier.

 

How Much Are Shed Antlers Worth?

shed truckloadHow much cash can you get for your shed antlers?

For starters, depends on condition and grade of the sheds:

Grade A: Antler in perfect condition, brown and beautiful, with no fading…no broken tines or chew marks…this year’s drop, antler picked up within a few weeks or months.

Grade B: Antler in good condition, still natural brown color, may be dull or faded on one side and slightly weathered, probably last year’s drop. May have slight broken tine or chip.

Grade C: Antler faded and weathered to white and chalky, on the ground for 2 or 3 years.

Here are February 2019 estimates from Antlerbuyers.com:

Elk Grade A: $13.50 a pound*
Elk Grade B: $11 a pound*
Elk Grade C: $3 a pound*

Whitetail Grade A: $10 a pound*
Whitetail Grade B: $6 a pound*
Whitetail Grade C: $2 a pound*

Mule Deer Grade A: $11.50 a pound*
Mule Grade B: $6 a pound*
Mule Grade C: $2 a pound*

Moose Grade A: $11 a pound*
Moose Grade B: $7 a pound*
Moose Grade C: $2 a pound*

*Prices estimated. Antler Buyers gets current prices every 3 months by calling, texting, or messaging 4 random antler buyers, and then averaging their prices together.

If interested in selling your antlers, click here.