Friday, August 8, 2014

Do Deer Always Shed Their Antlers?

After talking with my hunting partner about a recent buck encounter, I asked this question to the CA DFW. Now I know a little bit more about the deer around here. This is from the Q&A with Carrie Wilson.

Question: I recently heard about a few Southern California bucks that seem to carry their antlers year round. One person I heard from insisted they were mountain biking and repeatedly saw the same deer in January and in May with a 4x3 rack. While I disagreed with the person telling me this, I admitted I am no biologist and didn't know what they were seeing. Do some deer out here not shed their antlers? I was under the impression that even though nutrition, water and climate might affect when they shed, that deer always shed their antlers. Can you share some info or point us in the right direction to learn more about the antler shedding process here in SoCal? (Al Q.) 

Answer: Deer that don't shed their antlers are commonly called "stags". This is usually the result of some kind of injury (or maybe deformity) of the testicles. Testosterone plays a role in both antler development and shedding, so injuries can really affect the types of antlers they have. Weird looking antlers can also result from injury to the antlers while in velvet ... but those usually fall off normally and are replaced the next year with "normal" antlers. 

So, this proves there are indeed exceptions to every rule -- even biological ones!

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