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Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Antler Hunting

What is antler hunting?
Male deer, elk and moose grow impressive antlers each year, some reaching impressive sizes by mating season in the fall. These antlers eventually fall off in the late winter/early spring, and the cycle begins again. The size of the antler rack usually gets larger each year as the animal grows and matures. The dropped antlers, or sheds, are sought by people who enjoy getting out for recreation and finding a 'treasure' and by people who sell the antlers to those who use them for commercial purposes. The activity of going out and searching for shed antlers is called antler hunting. For some people in Wyoming it is a casual sport, for others it is a competitive business.

When are antlers shed?
Mule deer typically shed their antlers midwinter, in January and February. Most elk shed their antlers in February and March. However, some animals of both species may retain their antlers into April. Younger animals retain their antlers longer than older animals. It also appears that animals in good condition drop their antlers earlier than animals in poor shape. Shed antlers typically don't last more than a year in the wild. Rodents and other animals like to chew on them to get the calcium and by summer not much is usually left. It is also rare to find a matching set of antlers near each other in the same location, as the antlers typically drop independently from one another.

Difference between antlers and horns
Animals such as pronghorn antelope and bison have horns instead of antlers, which stay permanently on their heads and are not shed. The only way to get the horns from those animals is to retrieve them from the carcass of a dead animal, which often requires meeting hunting license proof requirements.


As always... Rachael said...

A hunting I will go
A hunting I will go
Hi Ho the Derry O
A hunting I will go.

You should come too... bring home-brew!

curmudgeon said...


Peggasus said...

I like to learn something new everyday.

This qualifies.

I'd be pretty interesting/funny to see a deer with just one antler hanging on. Do you think they walk lopsided?

curmudgeon said...

Sounds like a neck ache, don't it?

Australopithecus_africanus said...

I shot a deer in 99 that only had one antler. The other one had been shot off by someone else.

curmudgeon said...

Sounds like they neede to spend a little more time at the range.