Scientists at the Mississippi State Deer Lab say velvet antlers grow rapidly, as much as ¾-inch a week for yearling bucks and 1 1/2 inches per week for adults during the peak growing season in June!

Velvet antlers have a complex system of blood vessels which causes them to be hot to the touch. There is so much blood carrying protein and minerals to a buck’s antlers this time of year that even small antlers are easily detected by thermal imaging devices.

Tiny hairs on the velvet stick out and make the antlers look thicker than they actually are. The hairs act as a radar system so a buck won’t bump into trees, fence posts, etc. and damage his soft antlers.

Sebum, a semi-liquid secretion, on those hairs gives the velvet a shiny look. Sebum also supposedly acts as an insect repellent to keep gnats and biting flies off a buck’s rack and face.