A gentleman from the Midwest wrote and told me he had spotted some mighty fine bucks this summer, and he wondered how much more those racks would grow.

It’s a great question, and I ran it by one of BIG DEER’s most respected pros, Dr. Mickey Hellickson who said:

Generally, the majority of antler growth, especially with regard to tine and beam length, will be complete by early August. During mid- to late August, the antlers begin to harden; that is why growth slows and then stops.

During early to mid-September, the velvet dries and is shed, usually in only a matter of hours. The cue for the hardening and velvet shedding is the change in photoperiod caused by increasing darkness and decreasing daylight, which results in a buck’s increase in testosterone.

Once bucks have fully shed velvet, they are ready to breed, now they just wait on the does to be ready.