View Full Version : Bucks and antler growth

03-17-2014, 11:02 AM
I was talking to good friend and former BHO staffer Gene price at trophy rock the other day and we got on the topic of antler growth and the amount of time they have to grow them. Now Gene knows more about this subject than I do but i had a question that we both couldn't answer. If a buck looses his antlers in dec and another buck carries his til late march and there both the same age and size, will the buck that dropped in dec be bigger the following yr? There's a lot to this giving they'd both need the same amount of protein, minerals ect... But it got me thinking. Also, they say bucks that are born early drop early. What's everyone's thought on this? Gene is going to ask grant woods his opinion but I thought its one worth exploring.

03-17-2014, 12:12 PM
Don't remember Gene being part of the staff here but you guys do bring up a good point. Sure makes you wonder but at the same time I always thought the levels of testosterone has a lot to do with when a buck sheds his antlers. If that is the case then time of birth wouldn't/shouldn't have much to do with it but rather stress and other factors. As far as if an early dropper of the same age would have a larger rack than a late dropper I don' know. That seems to be more of a question if an early born fawn has a better head start than a late born fawn and IF that carries on into the older years of it's life.

03-17-2014, 02:36 PM
Boy, this is a subject I put a lot of thought and effort into
over the yrs, or just the past 5 yrs in a row now, I have had one buck I been watching, , he has features that makes him easy to tell when he's lost antlers and when there growing
but over the past 5 seasons, he has been one of teh first bucks to start growing antlers, BUT every other yr he is one of teh last one's to shed them?
one yr he held them till late march, and this yr was one of the first one's to loose them
I am not sure when he was born
but I used to believe like some have said it has to do with testorone, and if any does are left to be bred, and so on
BUT I have an excessive amount of doe here
so, I rules that theory out rather fast, as I have seen deer breeding in late season, and he already lost his antlers, and he lives on the farm, he has a very very small home range, only reason I think he has lived this long, plus after july, till about mid May, he is nocturnal 100%, or I never get a day time pic of him after July, and he tends to travel less than a few hundred yards from food to bedding

HE is also NOT the biggest racked buck on the farm, BIG body, well over 200 lbs last 2+ yrs, just rack has been in the 120-140 range since he was about 2, will be 6+ this yr, did have his best rack this past season, at 140 or darm close

in yrs he started growing antlers sooner(ws a full grown 8 point, say 100 Inches ,in velvet in Late May this [past yr), when most all other bucks were just starting to branch out , he had several weeks on the rest of the bucks
yet, they all have access to the same food and minerals I have for them
and come Fall, other late starters, passed him in size of his antlers
THEY also held them longer into Late jan than he did this yr!, as he dropped his very early this yr
BUT over the past 15+ yrs at this farm, I always had bucks with antlers, a couple, into late march even into mid april
and this yr all shed them, by mid feb(or so all my cam's stopped getting pic's of bucks with antlers then)
this winter was the coldest and most snow in YRS, and I think weather plays a role into them all seeming to shed early this yr
from all my yrs and trying, I have NO idea what causes them to grow early, or shed early or late
seen too many times, same deer , same location, same foods, and doe's
hold them late one yr and shed them early the next, and same for starting to grow them
no ryhme or reason
gave up trying to "X" is the cause/reason LOL

03-17-2014, 04:18 PM
This was a good read I found while looking deeper into it and supports what chuck was saying.
It's just one biologists view. And I'm sure there are so many things that impact this. I'm really hung up on this subject. What amazes me is how fast a deer that drops late grows his antlers and usually sheds around the same time as the rest. Seems to me it would take more from his body too fast and hurt his antler growth the following yr? Just a thought......

03-17-2014, 07:15 PM
Mike thats a good read, but again, at my farm, over the yrs, like last yr, it was about a 50/50 split of bucks that held them into march, and bucks that dropped them in mid jan>
I had several talks with DR Gary Alt, when he was in charge of the whitetail deer herd in PA a few yrs back now
in his stucy, they found if they graph the area the pedicle, they found if they removed some and re attached it ANY WHERE, on that deer antlers grew for it LOL
always found that a funny fact
but like I said, I have thought about this a lot over the yrs and tried my best to keep tabs on bucks here, and like I said, I have seen same buck, for 5+ yrs now, drop early, one yr, and next gold them a LONG time
and these were some times in yrs with same crops planted and same mast crops in good supply
and I always have a LOT of deer on the farm, 200 acre's farm, I have spot lighted the field many times and had well over a 100 deer feeding at night in it(its legal to spot light in PA )
I believe when a buck is born is about the best idea on why some shed sooner or some grow bigger, they have like a jump start on the game
but then after seeing same bucks, shed early and then shed late?? causes that theory to get ???
like all the rest I have read
making the best answer, to just be some times they just shed sooner than later
too many factors to pin point on any one or two if you ask me!

03-17-2014, 08:41 PM
I deffinitly see your point. I'm having a hard time believing we know all there is to this process bucks go thru. I'd love to ask a guy that raises deer if a big buck drops late, if he still gets as big as he was or bigger the next year on the same nutrition? I had a buck on the farm we called half pint. He had a good four point side and a spike. On yrs he dropped early the spike would have extra points. Other yrs just a spike. He also had a double throat patch and lived to be 8 before he was shot. I haft to think it matters when a buck has more time to grow but I'm no biologist.

03-17-2014, 08:50 PM
soooo..i thought i knew why they dropped their horns...lol..was wrong, thanks for the info on it, SHED'S a better light on it, thought the more breeding the buck did the sooner he dropped them

03-17-2014, 09:03 PM
I have a guy near me that raises deer, not trophy, just deer he sells for meat more or less, he even cuts there antlers down to keep them from fighting and hurting each other
he told me same thing the one yr when I asked him
he said some shed early some later
on a second note, a different guy I know, raise's elk, he sells them to outfitters, for pay for kill hunts
some monsters too!
but his breeders he keeps, same deal, they shed some yrs early some yrs later on
BUT he feeds them all sorts of different foods, he's a part time farmer, so he feeds then what ever he can get cheap (gets tons of wally world old vegi's and pumpkin's