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Antler Growth, Part II

Jul 28, 2010

A few weeks ago, I posted an item about how rapidly white-tailed deer antlers can grow during the month of June. (As much as 2 inches a DAY!) I got interested in the subject when the trail camera my son gave me for Christmas recorded one buck’s astonishing antler growth over a four-day period. This is documented in the first two photos with this post.

On July 10, the camera got another photo of the same deer. As you can see from the last photo, its antlers have continued to grow. I couldn’t tell from the earlier photos whether he had eight or 10 points. The last photo shows he is an eight-pointer.

Typical of whitetail bucks in my area, and of what appears to be a 2-year-old animal, his rack apparently will be narrow, with slender beams. However, if it has continued to grow in the three weeks since the photo was taken, the tines could have respectable length.

I was hoping he would be a 10-pointer. If I really wanted antlers, I could pass up shots at this buck – assuming he shows himself during the hunting season. My passing up that shot is VERY unlikely, however. Antlers are cool, but I LOVE venison, and at 2 years of age, this fella is still young enough to make great eating. On the other hand, if he shows up in the company of a big, fat doe, he might live to grow another, even bigger set of antlers next year.

I will let you know how that turns out, and I will share any additional photos of this guy as his antlers finish growing and he rubs off the velvet. The process should be complete by late September.



Deer antler growth as of May 15
May 15 antlers
This is how my camera-loving buck's antlers looked on May 15


Antler growth as of June 9
Antlers on June 9
Look how much the antlers grew in three weeks.


Antler development on June 13
Antler growth June 13
Amazing how much these antlers grew in just four days!


Antler growth as of July 10
Antler growth as of July 10
Looks like I have an 8-pointer.


 Drew:Antlers begin to harden and the velvet dries out in late August or early Sept. When that happens, antler growth ceases. As to whether or not it's itching that causes the deer to rub off the velvet, I expect that only a deer could answer that and they're not talking. It seems reasonable to me that the drying velvet might itch, but if the antlers have hardened there might be no nerves connected to that tissue. 

My conservation calender reads that the bucks will start rubbing in a week. Are the antlers done growing when they start to rub? I had heard somewhere that when they started rubbing the antlers itched and thats what caused the rubbing.

Antlers are the fastest growing tissue in the animal kingdom.

That's a good question, Drew. The honest answer is that I don't know it's the same buck. I believe it is, based on the apparent consistency of antler development from one photo to the next. This, along with the fact -- from several sources -- that antlers grow as fast as the series of photos shows, leads me to believe it's the same deerAlso, the trail camera has captured two bucks together several times. One has smaller antlers -- looks like he will be a 4- or 6-pointer. Because these two keep showing up in photos together, I assume it's the same pair.I hope to get more photos and post them later this month.Jim

How can you be certain its the same deer? I dont doubt you I'm just wondering.

Wow, two inches a day?? That is crazy! I never knew their antlers grew that fast.

The meat is what this is all about. I do agree that 10 and 12 pointers make for great hunter trophies but good meat make for great meals! I definitely would appreciate eating such fresh meat!

@Ellen Marks you're absolutely right!

This is an impressive deer. I am interested in learning more about your observations on antler growth during June and July. I wonder how long it takes injested nutrients (corn, beans, clover)to turn into antlers?

Found it.

Where is the pic of the latest growth?

Shoot the doe. Deer are starting to over populate in even some rural areas and conditions are becoming perfect for disease to sweep through the herd.

Why not let the buck live a little longer. He may produce beautiful babies.

The photos don't show - tells me Im not authorized to view the page. The 1st picture shows within the article but when I click to view the 4 it will not allow me to view.

When I click the photos, it says "you are not authorized to view this page". Please fix! I need to see the antler growth!

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