Regardless of the number of whitetails observed throughout the course of a year, antler growth on large males continues to amaze, entertain and educate. Antlers are shed in late winter and in a few months new ones appear, often larger and more complex than the year before. They’ll be fully developed, calcified and glistening in the sun by late summer.
Developing antlers grow faster than any other organ in the animal world, sometimes an inch (several centimeters) a day in a healthy, mature buck.
The key ingredients for this amazing spectacle of renewal are age, nutrition and genetics. The buck in this series, photographed last evening, is sporting impressive antler development but it will be 3 or 4 years before he reaches his peak size. He’s foraging in farm fields, in this case alfalfa, so I doubt that his summer diet is limiting.
I hope he sticks around and continues to forage in good light because I’d love to finish his story in September, showing the finished and polished product!
Photos by NB Hunter (29June2018). © All rights reserved.