October 15, 2012
He may not look like much at this time but this little buck in velvet, with his sister, is the first antler deer that stood still for me long enough to get his picture taken.
If you watch the same areas from one year to the next, you begin to learn the distinctive antler characteristics of a specific gene pool. And this young buck appears to be the descendent of a tall 7-point that I observed last year on several occasions in the same area. Unfortunately, the elder deer went nocturnal right before archery season opened last year, and I never saw him in the daylight again. Maybe this young buck will hang around in the daylight, and I'll get a shot at him this season.
You may ask why would a buck loose his antlers each year? The reason is deer antlers are true bone and made up of calcium and phosphorus; and they are deciduous, which means that they drop off or shed each year. After the rut, a buck's testosterone level drops, and this causes him to shed his antlers. In just a few weeks new antlers begin to grow and continue through the spring and summer. The new developing antlers have a soft-brown covering called velvet. This velvet covering helps the antlers grow by providing them with blood and nourishment. Antlers can grow at a rate of 1/4 inch per day, which makes it one of the fastest types of tissue growth in mammals.
By the end of summer, the testosterone levels increase and the blood flow to the antlers decreases. This decrease in blood flow to the antlers, causes the velvet to dry out and is soon shed. It is not long before the new set of polished antlers is uncovered. The hard-horn buck is now ready to defend his territory against other bucks and to advertise to the females that he is a mature and healthy mate.
October 5, 2012