Spring: Deer Antler Growth Cycle

Microsoft PowerPoint - Antler Growth Cycle Figure.pptx






This graphic from the Mississippi State Deer Lab shows the entire antler growth cycle…here we focus on spring growth, what is happening right now:

New antler growth resumes about 3 weeks after (old) antler drop, on a scab that has formed over the pedicles. A growing antler is covered with velvet and grows from the tip. Antler growth is slow during April-May and becomes more rapid during June-July, especially in older bucks.

One thought on “Spring: Deer Antler Growth Cycle

  1. I quote: “Antler growth is slow during April-May and becomes more rapid during June-July, especially in older bucks.”

    To me, this makes “common sense” sense…let me explain. An older buck’s nutritional intake no longer goes to its skeletal system (that is, not in the same sense as it does for an immature buck, whose skeletal growth trumps antler-growth). It also makes sense to me from a monthly standpoint. In April (maybe not this year…damn it’s cold here still) and May the woods are just coming to life with their new growth, etc. An individual buck (regardless of age) is coming off one of the two most stressful (probably the MOST stressful for bucks in more northern latitudes) times of the year. Antler growth is slow at first, then kicks up a bit as new spring growth appears, gets a bump in May with warmer temps and more growth (plus, in some instances, new farm crops that are just emerging…esp. soybeans; or food plots that have legumes in them, etc.), and then by June to July there is abundant food practically everywhere, so the explosion of growth takes place. Older bucks, whose skeletons are fully developed (and, maybe have been for a couple-three years), send much, or most of that nutrition to building their “crowns”.

    Also, an observation: A guy I know has a few bucks inside a fenced-in enclosure south of my town. I drive by there frequently and (to the chagrin of my wife, most times) pull over to check out the bucks. Last week I pulled over and got by binocs up to have a look. The two younger bucks were still looking “scabbed over”, while the big mature buck had large, and very noticeable “bulbs” at least 2-3 inches long already. This sort of reinforced what the above statement was saying. I am going to go start taking pictures of that buck to try and chronicle its antler-growth, starting very soon. Have a good one, all!!

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