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.

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.

 

Virginia: CWD Confirmed In Buck Shot In Culpeper County

cwd deer

The Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (DGIF) in my home state of Virginia has confirmed Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in a buck legally harvested in Culpeper County during the November 2018 rut.

CWD has been documented in northwest Virginia (Frederick and Shenandoah counties) for some 9 years, and we hunters in the Northern Piedmont have been holding our collective breath that it would not spread.

But it has. The latest infected buck was killed in Culpeper County, 40 miles south of the original CWD zone.

Officials discovered this CWD from a sample submitted by a local taxidermist in January 2019. At the time this deer was harvested, the hunter did not notice any outward signs of disease, and the buck appeared to be in good condition.

In a press release, DGIF said it is too early to characterize the geographic spread of the disease in Culpeper or to determine how many deer in the area are infected. Because CWD was not confirmed in Culpeper until after the 2018 deer season closed, DGIF did not have the opportunity to work with local hunters to test large numbers of deer from the area.

DGIF will conduct preliminary disease surveillance in Culpeper and surrounding counties this spring and summer to make preliminary assessments about the occurrence of the disease. Methods of sample collection include working with road-kill collection contractors, responding to calls from the public about sick deer, and working with farmers and other landowners who have experienced damage from deer.

Experience in Virginia and other states has shown that it can take several years before the true extent of a CWD “outbreak” becomes clear. That is one of the most troubling aspects of CWD.

The Virginia DGIF is in the process of determining appropriate measures moving forward for Culpeper and surrounding counties, including neighboring Fauquier where I do most of my local deer hunting. These measures may include the delineation of a Disease Management Area, carcass transport restrictions, feeding restrictions, and the like.

I predict there will be changes coming to hunting in our region. The days of loading a deer in a pickup and driving over the county line are likely over (hunters will have to quarter and de-bone the meat).

Currently in summer, we can use mineral sites and bait in front of trail cameras OUTSIDE of hunting season to scout for bucks and monitor herds, but that could change. Virginia already mandates the use of synthetic deer scents, so no change there.

Most certainly hunters will be encouraged to have their deer meat tested for CWD before eating it.

DGIF officials will notify hunters of any changes to the regulations in the area this summer and a public meeting will be scheduled in Culpeper County to address questions and concerns about the Department’s planned management approach to CWD in this area.

I would like to give a big shout-out to the Virginia DGIF for their efforts to monitor this disease. Last season, the DGIF worked with 50 taxidermists statewide to enhance Virginia’s CWD surveillance. Participating taxidermists submitted more than 1,600 samples from harvested deer, including the one from Culpeper that tested positive.

ABOUT CWD: This incurable disease has been detected in 26 states and 3 Canadian provinces. It is a slow and progressive neurological disease that ultimately results in death of the deer. The disease-causing agent is spread through the urine, feces, and saliva of infected animals. Noticeable symptoms include staggering, abnormal posture, lowered head, drooling, confusion, and marked weight loss.

There is no conclusive evidence that CWD can be transmitted naturally to humans, livestock, or pets, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention instructs hunters to test all deer harvested from known CWD-positive areas and to not consume any animals that test positive for the disease.

For more information about CWD: www.dgif.virginia.gov/wildlife/disease/cwd.