Sunday, January 18, 2009

Shed Antler - White-tailed Deer

Each year white-tail bucks grow a new set of antlers. The basic shape of their antlers stays the same from year to year as they grow larger. About age five to seven years the buck is considered mature and his antlers could decline in size or he might grow abnormal points or shapes.

The picture of an antler above shows what the different parts are called. The names are reference points when the antler is being scored. Many hunters scout out the larger mature bucks so that they might mount their trophy and hopefully the antler score will put them in the book of records. Others hunt for antler sheds for the same reason or they might be an artist that will use the antler as part of a unique creation, such as a lamp, shelf, door knobs or numerous other ingenious ideas. Personally I love to match the antler with photo of that deer and display above my kitchen cupboards. Photo below shows a small section of that area!

If you are interested in more information on how antlers are scored you can find it at the following links:
Boone and Crockett Club
Score Sheets North American Shed Antler Club

You can also check out the Shed Antler Records of the North American Shed Hunters Club

I found my second antler yesterday; it was shed from a buck that we have been able to watch since the winter of 2003. Ruger, our German Shorthair loves to carry them to the house for me!

From our observations, the white-tail will shed their antlers about the same time each year but it does not necessarily shed them in the same area. The weather and their prime food source are factors.

Below are a couple pictures of the buck that shed my latest find, we first saw him as a yearling in the winter of 2003. He has now turned 6 ½ years and is a handsome buck. Some would consider him a management buck and not to have impressive antlers, but to me he is a very wise buck as he has eluded the numerous hunters in our area for the past five years!

2003 as a yearling (1.5 year old)

2008 - Same buck

By the above pictures you can see how the antler shape remains the same as each year passes, they do however get larger in diameter and beams and tines grow longer! The antlers can add points each year and maybe even odd little points sometimes called stickers but the basic shape stays the same.

As each winter approaches I look for the bucks that we saw the previous year and wonder will I see I them again or what has become their fate? Each year brings a new 'treasure' to our Maine Backyard to entertain and bring smiles!

Enjoy your day! :) Coppertop

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