The majority of antler growth was completed a week or so ago in early August. Now during mid- and late August, the antlers start to harden. In early to mid-September the velvet dries and is shed, usually in a matter of hours.
The cue for the hardening and velvet shedding is the change in photo-period as caused by increasing darkness and decreasing daylight in late summer, which results in a significant increase in bucks’ testosterone levels. Once a buck sheds velvet, he is ready and willing to breed, though does won’t cycle into estrus for a month or two yet.
Thanks to our friend Dan for sending the latest image of “Long Brow” with his fully grown headgear for the year. It sure was a pleasure watching this beautiful buck grow.