He is the king of the forest. When he enters the yard, they watch him. He just glares at them and they move off. The yearlings have fun with him. They edge nearer, and he turns his head with his big rack. They bounce off, happy to play the game, push the envelope and do the dance.
I was curious as to what prompts them to lose their antlers. They need them for rutting season, to fight over their females. I was reading my book, Whitetail Savvy, by Dr. Leonard Rue III (age 90), to find out more. The books had a section on this topic.
The Casting of Antlers
- Testosterone levels drop, cells at the antler base (osteoclasts) reabsorb the calcium from the antlers.
- The mass of the antler becomes grainy.
- One day the antlers are solid, the next they can drop off.
- Timing depends upon the end of breeding season.
- Stress of rutting produces stress, which drops testosterone levels.
- Lack of food causes stress, at which time the pituitary gland produces corticoids.
- Severe cold causes stress, as well.
The year I found mine, I found them with some blood around the area. After they fall off there is some blood flow. The cold and their natural clotting stops it pretty soon.
To figure out where to look for deer sheds, check out my friend, Justin Hoffman's video!