Why Some Bucks Shed Antlers Early

SD shed 1I am hearing reports of bucks shedding their antlers early this year. What causes this?

QDMA biologist Kip Adams points to a couple of things. “Nutrition is important, as bucks in good physical condition generally retain their antlers longer than those who are nutritionally stressed,” he says. “Widespread early antler casting (in your area) may signify a nutritionally stressed herd resulting from too many deer for what the habitat can support.”

Kip says that in northern states, mature bucks typically shed their antlers earlier than younger, smaller deer. “(Older) bucks skip many meals during the breeding season, and those that rut hard may be in poor post-rut condition… even when abundant forage is available for deer. These bucks are choice candidates for early antler casting.”


One thought on “Why Some Bucks Shed Antlers Early

  1. Here in Connecticut I’ve been hearing a bunch of guys saying bucks dropping early. Our muzzleloader season runs around December 7-31st and through that period guys shot doe or what they thought were doe but turns out to be a buck. Plus lots of trail cam pics of bucks dropping.

    This year was terrible for mast crops, acorns/beechnuts which the deer really rely on in my area… The 275ac land I hunt is loaded with oak and Beechnut trees, your usually stumbling around while walking the woods but I think I saw one acorn… A few Beechnut trees had some nuts but nothing to speak of… So bottom line is they’ve eating brows all year…

    One good thing so far is the lack of snow, We usually have a foot or better by now. So I hope that trend stays then the deer have a better chance to find some brows and maybe restore some nutrition… We’ll see come spring what the winter took…

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