Thursday, January 17, 2013

Finding Shed Antlers - Whitetails

I've been raising whitetails for a number of years.  I've learned a lot about deer behavior by having the close contact.  I'm a wildlife biologist and I studied deer behavior for 2 masters degrees.  Even tame deer exhibit behavior like deer in the wild.  I get questions about shed antlers often in the winter.  Most antlers on my deer in Louisiana are cast in January and February.  My deer are all from northern states like Minnesota and Indiana. I've found antlers in mid-December but those are unusual.  Some of those bucks had obvious illness in the summer or early fall.  The illness may affect their hormone production causing antler to drop early.

 I've found them different places. Often, they are just out in the open. Sometimes in the woods or tall grass but not a particular habitat. You'll find the most where they spend the most time. I found one about 4' up in a tree once. He evidently rubbed it and hooked it on a branch. I've had them fall off while standing within touching distance. Sometimes it makes a ripping sound like tearing paper when it comes off. I've seen them fall off without the deer shaking his head or making sudden movements. Fairly often both sides will be together like he took them off and set them on the ground. Others may carry the other side for weeks.

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