Here are 4 facts about velvet antler growth I bet you didn’t know. I pulled them from Way of the Whitetail, a great reference book by Leonard Lee Rue III, a top deer researcher and photographer I’ve worked with some over the years:
(1) Antlers are bone, consisting mostly of calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and other minerals. Although some of the minerals are taken from food, most of them are sucked from the buck’s skeleton, causing him to develop osteoporosis during the summer.
(2) Because the velvet is rich with blood vessels, growing antlers are hot to touch.
(3) Tiny hairs on the velvet stick straight out and make the antlers look bigger than they are. The hairs also act as a radar system so the buck won’t bump into trees, fence posts, etc. and damage his soft antlers.
(4) Sebum (semi-liquid secretion) on the hairs gives the velvet a shiny look. The sebum also acts as an insect repellent to keep biting flies off the buck’s rack and face.