What Affects the Timing of Deer Antlers Shedding?
In our last post on shed hunting, we discussed several factors on when you should start shed hunting and as you can see, there are many variables to that. After you figure out your area and when you need to get out to find sheds, it’s also a good idea to figure out what is most important to finding shed antlers, what affects the timing of antler drop? This debate has gone on for a long time, but there are proven factors that determine when bucks shed their antlers in the spring.
What Causes Bucks to Shed Antlers?
1. Weather: Is there anything else that truly encompasses nearly everything we do as a society? Weather controls everything and it’s not different than in antler drop. Extreme cold or snow can put a lot of stress on bucks and when that happens, it can slow down the animals and make them drop their antlers quicker. Any weather that stresses a deer, elk or moose will certainly make them shed their antlers more quickly.
2. Testosterone Drop: Once the rut is over, testosterone levels in bucks start to decline. This happens when the level of daylight decreases and is ultimately what leads to antlers shedding. Testosterone levels decline and cells that are called osteoclats that are at the base of each antler absorb calcium, which creates pits that separate the antler from the pedicle. The antler separates from the pedicle and falls off. This is also why sometimes antlers leave blood and don’t come off completely clean.
3. Health of the Buck: In an ideal situation, with a healthy deer, available nutrition and great weather, deer would shed at nearly the same time each year. However, this is never the case. Injuries play a vital role in when deer shed their antlers and the timing of antler drop. If a deer is injured the process is sped up because energy is diverted to other parts of the body instead of the antlers. Nutrition also keeps the antlers on longer. High nutrient foods will cause a buck to hold onto it’s antlers longer and a lack of food will have the opposite effect.
Factors that Cause Deer Antler Drops
As you can see, there are many factors that cause the timing of antlers to shed. Keep tabs on your areas for the available nutrition, weather and health of your deer herd to make an educated decision on when you should start shed hunting this season.
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