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Antler Growth

Old 09-23-2002, 04:01 PM
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Default Antler Growth

I was wondering what stimulates antler growth in Elk and Whitetail Deer. Had an argument at work about this subject.
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Old 09-26-2002, 03:51 AM
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Default RE: Antler Growth

first of all i am not a scientist but from what i have read and talked about there are three things the
1. genetics
2. proper nutrition and minerals
3. age

if you look into velvet(elk) raisers you will find the same answers i gave and i would classify them as the experts
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Old 10-13-2002, 02:18 PM
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Default RE: Antler Growth

What "stimulates" re-growth of antlers is the increasing hours of daylight in the spring, which stimulates the pineal gland in the brain, which regulates hormone levels. This causes increased blood flow to the antler pedicel and the growth/deposit of new bone in the antler.
What "determines" how large antlers grow is age, nutrition (food and minerals), the health of the animal, genetics, and water. If there isn't enough water for good forage growth, then there is poor forage and poor antler production. If the animal is undernourished, injured or sick during the time it is growing antlers, it will have poor antler growth.
Whitetails generally aren't full grown until they are over 4 years old; elk aren't full grown until they are about 7 years old. Until they are full grown most of the nutrients needed for antler growth go into bone and muscle production. Once the animal is full grown it can start growing antlers, which often leads to longer tines and more mass that you see in older deer and elk.

If you have more questions on deer, elk, turkey, ducks or geese ask me and I will try to answer.

T.R. Michels, writer, speaker
Trinity Mountain Outdoors
[email protected]

T.R. Michels

Edited by - trmichels on 10/18/2002 12:32:08
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Old 10-14-2002, 08:04 PM
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Default RE: Antler Growth

What effect does testosterone levels have in this regrowth?
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Old 10-15-2002, 12:19 PM
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Default RE: Antler Growth

Hormonally, the hardened antler falls off in the winter/spring when the testicles shrink and testosterone levels drop almost to nothing. The testicles remain small, producing very little testosterone for the entire "growing" period of the antlers. During the first part of September the testicles swell up again and produce testosterone. This is what causes the antler to harden and shed the velvet. When this happens, the buck is ready to breed. It is the doe's timing of heat (estrus) that controlls the timing of the rut.

This is why if you castrate a buck or have a "cactus" buck that has had damage to the testicles, he will grow antlers that continue growing and never shed their velvet. Hope that answers your question.

Edited by - txhunter58 on 10/15/2002 13:20:05
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Old 10-16-2002, 07:49 PM
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Default RE: Antler Growth

Thanks for the info. It has cleared the air so to speak.
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Old 10-16-2002, 09:09 PM
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Default RE: Antler Growth

So who won the argument?
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Old 10-17-2002, 08:30 PM
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Default RE: Antler Growth

We both were right with our arguments only we didn't know it. Once again thanks for all the replys. Happy Huntin.......
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Old 10-18-2002, 11:50 AM
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Default RE: Antler Growth

Scientifically speaking, "the rut" is defined as the time when a buck can breed, not when does do breed. Bucks can breed as soon as they shed velvet, and can usualy continue breeding until they shed their antlers. This is all controllled by testosterone level, which is controllled by photoperiod, age, health and social status. There is evidence that high testosterone levels in older bucks, which causes them to rub and scrape, suppresses the urge to rub and scrape by lower raning bucks.
Does are triggered into estrus by photoperid. But they may be induced to come in to estrus by the pheromones (scents) left by dominant bucks at rubs and scrapes. This helps to synchronize peak breeding between bucks and does, so that breeding occurs at the righ time of year. However, when there aren't enough 3.5 year old or older bucks in the herd, or when there are far more does than dominant bucks in the herd, the breeding phase may begin late, or last longer than 45-60 days. In some places breeding of 80 % of the does may take up to 4 months, especially down south, where deer can breed from Aug. 22 until Mar. 14. (according to studies by Robert McDowell in 1970).

Got more questions ask, and I'll dig around until I find the answers.


Look for my up-coming articles in the e-magazine.

The two 3.5 year old bucks in the elk pens (in southern Minnesota) shed velvet during the first week of April, don't have swollen necks yet, and have just begun to check the does.

T.R. Michels, writer, speaker
Trinity Mountain Outdoors
[email protected]

T.R. Michels
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Old 10-18-2002, 11:57 AM
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Default RE: Antler Growth

Scientifically speaking, "the rut" is defined as the time when a buck can breed, not when does do breed. Bucks can breed as soon as they shed velvet, and can usualy continue breeding until they shed their antlers. This is all controllled by testosterone level, which is controllled by photoperiod, age, health and social status. There is evidence that high testosterone levels in older bucks, which causes them to rub and scrape, suppresses the urge to rub and scrape by lower raning bucks.

Changing testosterone levels, caused by increasing hours of daylight in the spring, which affect the pineal gland in the brain, which controls hormone levels, result in re-growth. Shorter hours of daylight in the fall, which increases testosterone levels, results in the bucks shedding velvet.

Does are triggered into estrus by photoperiod, just like bucks. But they may be induced to come into estrus by the pheromones (scents) left by dominant bucks at rubs and scrapes. This helps to synchronize peak breeding between bucks and does, so that breeding occurs at the righ time of year. However, when there aren't enough 3.5 year old or older bucks in the herd, or when there are far more does than dominant bucks in the herd, the breeding phase may begin late, or last longer than 45-60 days. In some places breeding of 80% of the does may take up to 4 months, especially down south, where deer can breed from Aug. 22 until Mar. 14. (according to studies by Robert McDowell in 1970).

Got more questions ask, and I'll dig around until I find the answers.

Look for my up-coming articles in the e-magazine.

The two 3.5 year old bucks in the elk pens (in southern Minnesota) shed velvet during the first week of April, don't have swollen necks yet, and have just begun to check the does. Peak scraping her generally begins around Oct. 18, pek breeding hear occurs during the second week of November.

T.R. Michels, writer, speaker
Trinity Mountain Outdoors
[email protected]


T.R. Michels
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