View Full Version : antler shedding

March 16, 2001, 11:49 AM
I'm in Ohio and there are some HUGE bucks around where I live. When will these guys start to shed their racks? I'd like to try and find a big ole antler.........kinda like an easter egg hunt in the woods. I've been told that once shed, the antlers don't last long on the ground, so timing is everything. Thanks in advance

Keith Rogan
March 16, 2001, 12:22 PM
Those bucks are already growing next falls racks. They shed them around the first of the year.

March 17, 2001, 12:37 AM
The bucks in NE Colorado still got 'em on. Should be falling off any day now.

March 21, 2001, 02:38 PM
Keith is right. I have seen antlers off in the December muzzleloader season in MI.

March 23, 2001, 03:02 PM
I found a set back in '89. 4 points to a side. Found in IL in April while mushroom hunting. Actually, my 6 month old beagle, Huck found them. He wandered off so I hollered for him. He popped up over the hill and started down in the bottoms where I was. About half way down, he disappeared behind an old log. I hollered again and he came dragging a branch out. Figured he was in the mood to play fetch. He came up, I looked down and WOW. It was by far the thickest antler I'd ever seen. I back-tracked to the log and sure enough, there lay the other one. First matching set of shed antlers I ever saw. No chew marks, or any flaws. Needless to say, I keep my eyes WIDE OPEN when mushroom hunting.

March 24, 2001, 04:14 PM
Mid to late January down here. It usually coincides with the end of deer season (mid January). I think it varies with different parts of the country and how cold the witners are. I shot a spike late in the season one year and when I went to move him with one side it came off. I grabbed the other side and it came off too. Later I got accused by some of the hunters of having bigggggggg cajones for driving around with that big doe on the top of the dog crate in the back of my truck, and it not being anytime near doe day! :D

March 25, 2001, 01:13 PM
Just saw three spike elk sporting their "hats." Deer yesterday still got 'em.

I thought the dropping coicided with hours of sunlight but that might not follow - ya'd think Ohio's about on the same daylight quantity as Colorado ....

April 14, 2001, 11:04 AM
FWIW - have three bull elk in the back yard yesterday afternoon & again this morning.

Two have dropped their antlers (one is huge! & the "antler stub" has to be 4" in diameter) & another's still sporting a 4X rack.

Kinda funny (in a sick way), the elkl moved over to a new neighbor (who is trying to bring in their newly seeded "lawn"). The elk were frolicking gleefully over their yesterday & tore it up something awful. So sad seeing city folk trying to make a go of it in the country .... ;)

April 16, 2001, 10:06 AM
The 4X dropped his antlers sometime between Sat night & Sunday morning (4/14-4/15). They dropped by the house again yesterday afternoon.

Sitting on the front deck, the elk cruised by (eating our "front yard") - could've reached out & smacked 'em in the head with a shovel.

About 1000+ lbs of boned elk-chews right there & not a thing to do about it .... wah! ;)

Anyway, now's about the time that elk drop their antlers around here .....

April 16, 2001, 01:33 PM
Went out last saturday and saw A LOT of deer. No racks on the deer and no racks on the ground.........looks like I missed out this year. Did someone say something about mushrooms!? I think it is time! :)

April 17, 2001, 01:23 AM
Here's a question that will show the full extent of my ignorance of deer. Do deer shed their antlers every year? If so, do they grow new (and sometimes huge) racks every year?



Art Eatman
April 17, 2001, 01:48 PM
While it will vary a bit with latitude, bucks start growing new antlers along in May, mas o menos. The size is a function of diet and age. They shed along in January, usually.

Near Austin, Texas, I shot a big doe one year just before Christmas. Imagine my surprise when I went to field dress the critter, and found non-doelike appendages! The buck had already shed!

I have an April, 1984, photo of two mule deer bucks just south of Alpine, Texas, with their antlers sticking up quite happily.

I have seen bucks in velvet here in south Brewster County, Texas, at Labor Day.

Go Figure.

The size of antlers will vary with genetics, as well as diet. Diet variance can include minerals as well as "just food", and annual rainfall will affect the latter. In general, a healthy buck will have forked horns at age 1-1/2. Assuming no dietary or genetic deficiencies, the number of points and thickness of beam/length of tine will increase with age. Fullest maturity is roughly 6-1/2 to 7-1/2 years. After 7-1/2, the worn teeth lead to a decline in health and thus poorer antlers. There may be many points, but they can be spindly and of narrow spread.

Hope this helps,


April 17, 2001, 05:45 PM
i hunted in ohio for years.you had to be real careful if you killed a buck in the second muzzleloader season if you wanted to keep the antlers in tac.i started to drag mine out and it fell off in my hand.

April 17, 2001, 08:34 PM
Art, some years back the wife and I were driving from San Antone to Laredo. We were about 1/2 way and were just getting into the brush country good when a buck still with his rack crossed the interstate at 11 AM in full daylight. This was in March. It amazed me he still had his rack!

April 17, 2001, 10:54 PM
Squirrels and the like usually chew on the sheds and they are gone before you know it. I have seen quite a few deer lately here in Illinois and they are all anterless at this time. They might have been all does but I kind of doubt it based on the bucks and does I see around here in the fall.

Art Eatman
April 17, 2001, 11:47 PM
southla1, that's why they have a later season in the south Texas brush country, south of San Antonio. Often, bucks don't really get into rut until after New Years.

To oversimplify a bit, if you draw a line from Corpus to SanAntone and west along US 90, the "biology" to the south is just not the same as to the north and in the CenTex Hill Country.



April 18, 2001, 08:28 AM
I guess thats kinda like the marsh deer and some of the Southern swamp deer here. They rut in early to mid October while the rest of the state is in Nov. To Jan. We own some bottom land hardwood just south of US90 in Centerville and they rut in Oct. but just 10 miles away North of US90 in the Atchafalaya basin they rut in December.