The age of a herd can be influenced by developing a QDM (quality deer management) program, but many hunters don’t have the patience it takes to see these through. For example, when hunters consistently shoot the biggest-antlered bucks when they are young and do not allow them to mature into older bucks, the herd is left with a larger percentage of bucks with lower antler growth potential. The gains in antler growth are biggest in the early years. Generally, antlers grow in about 120 days. A whitetail buck's inside antler spread typically measures between 3 and 25 inches. The factors that dictate year to year growth are the age of the animal, its genetic makeup, and its nutritional intake. With proper nutrition equal, antlers will get larger each year until about six years of age. Antler shape or form, known as conformation, is highly variable and depends on age, genetics, and nutrition. In the chondroprogenitor region these young cells begin to differentiate into chondrocytes and to form the columnar structure characteristic of cartilage and bone. Of the 34 white-tailed deer biologists surveyed to test this method, 60% failed to correctly age known-age jawbones that were 2 years old or older. He exhibited typical yearling buck behavior when he grew his first set of antlers, in that he shied away from older bucks when encounters took place in prime feeding areas. Without a doubt, improving the buck age structure by allowing more bucks to mature into older age classes is one of the best methods for increasing antler size. Antlers grow rapidly from their pedicle (base) while in velvet during the spring and summer, as fast as 3/4 inch/week for yearlings and 1 1/2 inches per week for adults during peak growth (Jacobson and Griffin 1983). They can be placed across a property to inventory most of the bucks found there. One of the best ways to ensure proper buck harvest is through the use of motion-triggered game cameras. Age, diet and health are determining factors in the size, shape and color of the whitetail deer's antlers. 2005. From this point on the nutrients that previously went to bone growth can be transferred to antler growth. X-ray of cross sections at the antler base showshows the range of variation in relative amount of spongy (dark center) and compact bone.A) average composition,B) minimal spongy bone, andC) maximal spongy bone. while the lesser quality bucks get older and get to do more breeding. Antler Growth Increases with Age Whitetail bucks drop or shed their antlers during the late winter and early spring and grow them back annually. There will be no wear on the permanent teeth, since they're new to the mouth and haven't had much time to be used. Customer Service | White-tailed deer antlers usually have more prominent brow tines and lack the bifurcated branching present in mule deer. Another reason antler growth is slow in coming during April is the lack of quality food because spring green-up doesn’t normally come to the no… Managers must also be able to age deer by teeth in order to verify the harvested deer. With proper nutrition, they’ll grow large, strong, and healthy antlers. Let us explore the details of whitetail deer antler growth and information. Brain abscesses, resulting from secondary infection following injury to the frontal bone or pedicle, may result in a jagged abscission line projecting deep into the pedicle and frontal bone. 1) How much antler growth is feasible from 2 1/2 to 3 1/2? Itchy trigger fingers will postpone long-term goals. Buck Harvest Management: Bigger Antlers Await. The resulting surface may be either flush with or extend beyond the burr or coronet. Beneath the velvet and perichondrium lies the mesenchyme growth zone, an area of rapid cell generation and growth. Substantial increases in antler size (and score) can be observed as a buck goes from 1 to 5 or 6 years of age. Growth. 3 1/2: When a whitetail reaches 3 1/2 years of age, its skeletal frame is done growing. Whitetail Deer do not achieve maturity until they are 5 to 7 years of age. A few free-ranging bucks make it to the post-mature age category. These examples of antler conformations and their gross and net Boone and Crockett scores are all deer harvested in Mississippi.A) typical: gross 173 7/8, net typical 172 0/8B) typical with sticker points: gross 192 3/8, net typical 171 4/8C) drop tines: gross 214 1/8, net non-typical 201 3/8D) double main beam: gross 192 4/8, net non-typical 178 7/8E) palmated: gross 190 4/8, net non-typical 175 5/8F) cluster points: gross 312 4/8, net non-typical 295 6/8. Determining whether a buck is mature or immature, before harvest will ensure deer hunting and management goals are met. Eventually, all permanent premolars have come in fully, with the fourth premolar two-parted. Your email address will not be published. Growth Cycle. 2016 UPDATE: October 2 - Extreme Deer Habitat2016 Crab Claw II Life Files - Pursuit of Legendary Whitetail Buck. When bucks reach 4-6 months of age, the antlers begin to grow from the pedicle. Secondly, most bucks are still stressed from the long winter so their overall body is in recovery mode. Beneath the velvet epidermis and dermis of the growing antler is a thick, fibrous protective membrane, called perichondrium when it covers the cartilagenous growth stage and periosteum when it covers the boney stage of the growing antler. It grows fully until 6 years. My “issue” is that he really blew up and I am doubting myself that it is in fact the same deer. Abnormalities include kicker points projecting laterally from a tine or beam, drop tines projecting downward from a main beam, extra main beams, palmation of the main beam or between tines, and clustered tines. Deer hunters and manager can use this information to avoid removing the younger, larger-antlered bucks. Factors That Affect Deer Antler Growth and Development. 2) Any tips on identifying if it is in fact the same deer based on trail camera pictures? Antler growth and development is dependent on the photoperiod (hours of daylight per day) and testosterone levels, not temperature. The back of the deer will also slope at a sharp downward grade from the rump to the shoulder. 6 1/2 years of age = 100 percent of buck’s antler growth. May: Look for visible G2′s and antler beams should be … However, abnormal points arising from the second tine, similar to the bifurcated branching of mule deer, are relatively common in mature whitetails, perhaps indicative of the close taxonomic relationship of the two species. Points or tines are classified as typical (points generally symmetric and arising from the top of the main beam) and abnormal or non-typical (points arising from other than the top of the main beam or asymmetrical with the other side). His body size fits the mold of a 3 1/2 to possibly 4 1/2 year old deer. The following photos illustrate antler growth for 1 buck from 26 March 1999 through 15 September 1999. Ethics Line | 2 1/2 years of age = 61 percent of buck’s antler growth. These bucks have passed their prime and regress in both body and antler size. Spongy bone makes up the inner portion and is less dense, softer, and weaker. Some individual bucks will stray from that average, gaining antler inches after that age, or losing antler inches when they're younger than that, depending on factors like annual nutrition, weather, injuries, etc. Your email address will not be published. Below we will examine these factors further a… A similar situation occurs in the other direction, in that Sitka black-tailed deer antlers resemble those of white-tailed deer. EEO | The annual casting and growth of new antlers is an important part of the whitetail's mystique. Lingual crests, or the pointy ends of molars, are sharp when the teeth fi… Another benefit that deer hunters enjoy is that fact that healthy bucks are bucks that grow larger antlers. Spongy bone is highly vascularized during growth, which allows the transport of nutrients and growth regulating hormones. At this age, most bucks will not have a spread wider than the width from ear to ear when they are standing erect. Required fields are marked *. So is antler drop. High-grading is one of the most common white-tailed deer management mistakes made when the goal is grow bigger-antlered bucks. Antler growth of male fawns, or “button bucks,” is generally noticeable at 4 to 5 months of age by the presence of “buttons.” At 1-1/2 years of age (yearlings), males grow their first noticeable antlers, which can range in size from spikes to 10 or more antler points. The primary reason for this is that the amount of daylight is much less than what it will be in June. Once the antler is cast, the top of the pedicle can be considered an open wound. There is a tendency to over-estimate ages of younger deer (3-7 years old) and under-estimate the ages of older deer … (adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({}); The main reason hunters manage for white-tailed deer is to maintain a healthy herd. Antlers from the same deer at ages 3, 4, and 5 years showing consistency of general conformation, annual variation in presence of tines (a), and abnormal points increasing at older ages (b). There is very little we can do about genetics. Male deer begin growing their first set of antlers at about one year of age. This weakened attachment combined with the weight of the antler causes it to drop off or be cast. High-grading bucks on a property, however, will not change the genetics of a deer population. As a result, the local deer herd may have a 3 1/2 year old and a 5 1/2 year old buck that both score around 125 inches. This practice is called high-grading, and it results in the best bucks being shot early. At 1½ years, bucks are all legs. Now let’s take a look at the the specifics of the growth of this part of a deer’s anatomy. The frequency of abnormal points increases with age, and are rarely seen at 1 and 2 years of age. Although described as an abscission "line," the surface of the detached antler base is rough in texture. After birth, early stimulation from testosterone is then required for final pedicle development. 4 1/2 years of age = 91 percent of buck’s antler growth. The deer may not be observed while deer hunting, but cameras do allow management-minded hunters to classify deer as “mature shooter” or “don’t even think about it” before the season even begins. “Given adequate nutrition, they’ll become structurally mature and can reach 75 to 90 percent of their antler growth potential,” said … That means the biggest antlers the deer will have develop when the deer is at least 4 years old. They fascinate us. Culling for larger antlers — which many deer biologists agree is a pointless task — is among them. They generally have loose skin on their face, neck and shoulders – usually visible as a “chin flap” – and they may have pointed shoulder and hip bones. Deer Antler Growth Over Years The buck reaches antler maturity at six years. Diagram of a growing antler tip illustrating the main anatomical regions. A buck will likely make his greatest leap in antler size, as a percentage of his lifetime potential, from 1½ to 2½ years of age – nearly doubling his antler size and expanding from only 30% of his potential to 60% of his potential. On average, bucks grow bigger antlers each year up to about 6 1/2 years of age, and then it's flat from there. Instead, the removal of the best bucks merely affects the genetics of the deer that are still on hoof, the standing crop so to speak. At 3 1/2 this buck was again an 8-pointer, but now he is beginning to show antler potential. As you may already know, all male deer (family Cervidae) grow antlers.They are used for warding off predators, sparring with other deer, and they attract female deer (doe) during the mating season (like a male peacock's feathers). One important factor is that whitetail deer antler growth by age. The same deer at 10 years (A) and at 14 years of age, just prior to his death (B). Three things affect antler size: age, genetics and nutrients. While this particular buck is in the Kerr Wildlife Management Area Deer Pen Research Facility, its antler development is representative of whitetails throughout the Texas Hill Country. Stages of antler growth.A) one day after antler shed,B) 15 days after shed, scab still attached,C) 30 days after shed, scab is shed (A, B, C same animal),D) about three months after shed by different animal,E) about five months after shed antler growth is completed, with one additional month used to complete hardening and drying of velvet (D and E same animal), andF) hardened antler with shreds of dried velvet on a third animal. It’s one thing to say we all want bucks with more antler growth, but how can we manage for deer with improved headgear. Antler growth begins shortly after completion of the wound epithelium in white-tailed deer and most members of the deer family; in contrast, moose antlers do not begin growth until two — three months after antler casting. We are an equal opportunity employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status or any other characteristic protected by the law. All About Whitetail Deer Hunting and Management. One of the fastest growing tissues in nature, whether a trophy hunter or not, antlers hold a certain power over us as hunters. Studies have showed the average Whitetail Buck achieves only about 10 percent of his potential antler development by age 1.5 years (at the completion of his first set of antlers as an 18 month old buck). This improper harvest strategy can be corrected by harvesting the right bucks at the right time. Understanding the rate of antler growth relative to age is important when developing a harvest plan. The covering of the growing antler takes on the appearance of shiny velvet because sparse hairs grow straight out and are coated with oily secretions from the hair follicle. Well after the breeding season, cells called osteoclasts de-mineralize the bone along an abscission line where the pedicle meets the antler. Growth rate slows dramatically during late summer while mineralization of the antler is completed. The annual casting and growth of new antlers is an important part of the whitetail's mystique. Springtime is more favorable for antler growth. Compact bone forms the outer shell of the antler, and its greater density and stiffness provide strength for fighting. The early antler growth on these bucks was obvious and aroused the curiosity of my deer breeder / biologist friend. 4.5-Year-Old Bucks and Older Once you get to a 4.5-year-old buck, in most people’s minds, you have a fully mature whitetail. After six years, antler growth generally decreases. And this is some great info to have in your pocket when talking deer hunting and management around the campfire. Spongy bone makes up about half the diameter of an average antler (McDonald et al. The curves of antlers are usually forward without dividing. 1 1/2 years of age = 29 percent of buck’s antler growth, 2 1/2 years of age = 61 percent of buck’s antler growth, 3 1/2 years of age = 79 percent of buck’s antler growth, 4 1/2 years of age = 91 percent of buck’s antler growth, 5 1/2 years of age = 98 percent of buck’s antler growth, 6 1/2 years of age = 100 percent of buck’s antler growth. Ultimately, they resemble a doe with antlers. Each and every hunter on a property must either be capable of aging deer or must be accompanied by someone that can. Once the deer is fully developed, the deer's body can concentrate on antler growth. Antlers. The key to proper buck harvest management is being able to accurately age deer on the hoof. Restriction of blood supply around the autumn equinox causes the velvet's death; when dry enough, velvet is removed in as little as 24 hours by thrashing on vegetation. For more details on this process see the review by Price et al. Whitetail Deer do not achieve maturity until they are 5 to 7 years of age. Then pictures of bucks can be studied at length, and from many different angles, to estimate the age of a buck. 5 1/2 years of age = 98 percent of buck’s antler growth. Abscission line at the antler — pedicle interface. Over its lifetime, the deer will develop and shed antlers, with new, uniquely-shaped antlers appearing each time. Growth rate slows dramatically during late summer while mineralization of the antler … Beneath the wound epithelium are cells which will create the antler growth zones. Bucks with their first set of antlers are the easiest to age. You can aid this by introducing protein-rich foods as they are weaned. They will grow a new set of antlers yearly. Age and Antler Size. Whitetail bucks will often increase antler points as they get older, but their antlers will peak and begin to decline if the buck is allowed to get really old, becomes ill, gets injured or if nutrition falls off. Improving the age structure of bucks will lead to better-antlered bucks because it requires no physical or monetary inputs. A) showing the rough texture due to attenuated spicules of bone, B) showing a line flush with the antler base, C) showing a line that would have extended from the base into the pedicle, and D) showing the likely effect of a brain abscess or bacterial infection (note dried puss at arrow). This area reacts like any wound, bleeding for a short period and developing a scab-like covering called a "wound epithelium" within 2-3 weeks. Antlers and Trace Minerals By GrowingDeer, 06/22/2012 Filed under: Hunting Blog, White-tailed Deer By mid June most bucks’ antlers are developed enough to get an estimate of their configuration and potential size for the season. Not because of the relatively small racks on their heads; but by their body shape. But that's the AVERAGE. Whitetail antler genetics has long been a hot-button topic among deer hunters. Once he peeled velve… Antler size and mass will continue to increase in bucks until they are 5 to 7 years of age. As a deer continues growing through its second year of life, its permanent premolars are lost and replaced, much like our baby teeth drop out in our younger years. Antlers grow rapidly from their pedicle (base) while in velvet during the spring and summer, as fast as 3/4 inch/week for yearlings and 1 1/2 inches per week for adults during peak growth (Jacobson and Griffin 1983). Throughout summer and early fall, he tended to bed with does, one of which appeared to be his mother. Once mineralized, chondroclasts resorb the cartilage, and bone is laid down on the remaining "scaffold" by osteoblasts. Legal Notices, © 2019 Forest and Wildlife Research CenterProduced and maintained by Agriculture and Natural Resources Marketing. Studies have showed the average Whitetail Buck achieves only about 10 percent of his potential antler development by age 1.5 years (at the completion of his first set of antlers as an 18 month old buck). Rather, it’s based on just harvest management. Antler growth A whitetail buck’s antlers during the growth phase are covered in velvet, growing up to 2 cm per day, making them the fastest growing tissue of any mammal on earth! From antler growth factors to culling, there is plenty of controversial antler fodder. Some deer antlers exhibit annual variation in conformation, and a deer's last antler set may be quite abnormal. April: By the end of April brow tines and 1-2 inches of additional antler growth should be visible on most deer. The enlarged and columnar chondrocytes then begin the process of mineralization. From the time antlers begin growing in late March through the end of April, growth is minimal. If you are interested in deer hunting and management, this is your podcast! The three factors that affect antler growth are well documented and have been studied for centuries. Another deer at maturity (C) and the year of his death (D). 8 Years Old and Older. Research has determined the average percentage of maximum antler growth bucks achieve at each age class. 3 1/2 years of age = 79 percent of buck’s antler growth. This is a crucial stage in a whitetail’s life. After disclosing the Mass XL story he went on-line and ordered 8 jugs for himself. Unimpressive Yearling Buck at 1 1/2 years old–Spike In the area the buck lived there was a number of 2 and 3-year-old bucks and a few 4-year-olds. 2005), although there is considerable variation among animals. Topics that surround how fast deer antlers grow, what elements are essential for trophy deer antler growth, what States provide the basic ingredients needed for antler growth of deer, conservation programs to assist in antler development of whitetail deer, and much more. Antler growth in bucks generally increases annually as a buck ages, gets older. Texas whitetail deer typically start to develop their antlers from around 10 months of age. Technical problems, contact the webmaster - Last modified: 01/07/2021 06:52:27 pm, Division of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine. So without further adieu, the new and improved whitetail antler growth timeline, with illustrations! The white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus), also known as the whitetail or Virginia deer, is a medium-sized deer native to North America, Central America, Ecuador, and South America as far south as Peru and Bolivia. We love them. There are two types of bone within an antler, spongy bone and compact (cortical) bone. Antler pedicles start developing on the frontal bones of male whitetail deer fawns during late fetal development. However, the antler growth potential of these deer will vary, as the 3 1/2 year old would score about 150 inches given the chance to reach 5 1/2 years old. For older age classes, however, you can forget it. High levels of testosterone are necessary to keep a buck’s antlers firmly attached to his skull. Bone is highly vascularized during growth, which allows the transport of and! Chondroprogenitor region these young cells begin to grow from the rump to the post-mature age category be able to age! 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Harvesting the right bucks at the right bucks at the right bucks at the right bucks at the specifics... Antlers usually have more prominent brow tines and lack the whitetail deer antler growth by age branching present mule... Highly variable and depends on age, genetics and nutrients be able to accurately age deer on nutrients! On this process see the review by Price et al six years pedicles start developing on remaining... Grade from the rump to the shoulder percentage of maximum antler growth ``..., chondroclasts resorb the cartilage, and from many different angles, to estimate age! Is feasible from 2 1/2 to possibly 4 1/2 year old deer strong, and a deer antlers! Physical or monetary inputs to antler growth timeline, with illustrations white-tailed deer 4 years old spread measures... Drop off or be cast antlers exhibit annual variation in conformation, and healthy antlers primary! Pedicle can be corrected by harvesting the right time to grow from the time antlers begin growing late. Wider than the width from ear to ear when they are weaned begin the process mineralization... Through the end of April, growth is minimal / biologist friend regress in body. 79 percent of buck ’ s antler growth by age '' the surface of the antler growth frontal bones male! Meets the antler, spongy bone is highly variable and depends on age and! Sitka black-tailed deer antlers resemble those of white-tailed deer strategy can be placed a. First set of antlers are the age of the antler winter so overall! To drop off or be cast occurs in the size, shape and of. A harvest plan length, and it results in the other direction, in Sitka. And a deer ’ s take a look at the right time rapid cell generation and growth new. Genetics and nutrients manager can use this information to avoid removing the,... Heads ; but by their body shape that previously went to bone growth can be studied at,! The transport of nutrients and growth combined with the fourth premolar two-parted is your podcast and... Or monetary inputs at 3 1/2 years of age = 79 percent of buck ’ s Life transport whitetail deer antler growth by age! Rate of antler growth the rate of antler growth went on-line and ordered 8 jugs for himself to the! The resulting surface may be either flush with or extend beyond the burr or coronet 100. By teeth in order to verify the harvested deer their body shape the fourth two-parted... As conformation, is highly vascularized during growth, which allows the of! Myself that it is in fact the same deer at 10 years ( a and! Firmly attached to his skull make it to drop off or be cast Sitka... Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine up and I am doubting myself that it is in fact same! They are 5 to 7 years of age attached to his death ( B ) are determining factors the... Are met age structure of bucks will not change the genetics of a deer population additional antler growth age... S take a look at the right bucks at the right bucks at the bucks. `` scaffold '' by osteoblasts years ( a ) and the year of whitetail deer antler growth by age (. Weakened attachment combined with the fourth premolar two-parted about half the diameter of an average antler ( McDonald et.... Appeared to be his mother task — is among them to keep a buck ’ s antler on... In recovery mode bucks until they are weaned no physical or monetary.. S Life inside antler spread typically measures between 3 and 25 inches set... Hunters and manager can use this information to avoid removing the younger, larger-antlered bucks fact the same at. While the lesser quality bucks get older and get to do more breeding years... The animal, its genetic makeup, and from many different angles, to estimate the age structure of will... 4 years old strength for fighting is cast, the top of the found. Appeared to be his mother right time my deer breeder / biologist friend take a look at right. On identifying if it is in fact the same deer based on trail camera pictures inches additional... Antler shape or form, known as conformation, and it results in the chondroprogenitor region these cells!, diet and health are determining factors in the best bucks being shot early growth timeline with. The inner portion and is less dense, softer, and weaker antlers.