Wednesday, October 8, 2008
This is the first buck I have seen without velvet. The tines are dark and freshly stripped of the delicate fine hair that protects the antler during growth. While in the growth phase, the antlers are covered in a layer of skin that supplies the budding antlers with the nutrients needed to build the bone mass. The antlers will grow rapidly for 2-4 months. When the velvet is no longer needed, a ring at the bottom of the antler shaft forms and cuts off the supply of blood and nutrients. The velvet withers and begins to fall off. As a rule this process is facilitated by the deer by rubbing his antlers against trees. The whole process is repeated every year for the rest of his life.
It's one of my favorite times of the year, as I bundle up at the crack of dawn and go scouting for the "Big Buck" with the plentiful tines.