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- Experts at the Mississippi State Deer Lab say velvet antlers grow rapidly in late spring and summer, as much as ¾-inch a week for yearling bucks and 1 1/2 inches per week for adults. Growth slows dramatically in late summer while mineralization (hardening) of the antlers is completed.
- Antlers are bone, consisting of calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and other minerals. Although some of the minerals are taken from food, a lot of them are sucked from the buck’s skeleton, causing him to develop osteoporosis during the summer.
- Because velvet is rich with blood vessels, growing antlers are hot to the touch. New racks show up well in thermal imaging optics.
- Tiny hairs on the velvet stick out and make the antlers look bigger than they really 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.
- Sebum, a semi-liquid secretion on the hairs, gives the velvet a shiny look. Some biologists say sebum also acts as an insect repellent to keep biting flies off a buck’s rack and face.
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