We found a great article on the Outdoor Life website that had some very interesting facts about why deer shed their antlers!
• After the rut, decreasing testosterone levels cause an “abscission layer” to form between the antlers and their pedicels. As the connective tissue dissolves, the bucks’ antlers become loose and fall off.
• Bucks drop their racks from late December in the North through March and April in the South.
• Weather, snow depth, altitude and particularly food availability and nutritional value can influence when antler loss takes place.
• If your area has an early rut, bucks’ testosterone levels will decrease earlier and, as a result, some deer will cast their racks two to four weeks earlier than usual. A severe winter with a lot of snow can also cause stressed deer to shed earlier.
• It was once believed that bucks withdrew to a secluded place to shed their antlers—away from does and rival bucks—thus avoiding a public loss of virility. Today’s top biologists nix that idea, saying deer are probably unaware of when and where they’ll lose their headgear.
• Most older bucks shed antlers earlier than younger bucks do.
• According to Hellickson, the specific time a buck will shed his antlers might be determined heavily by his individual antler cycle. This is independent of other bucks’ cycles and is probably centered on birth date.
• A study in Mississippi found that individual penned bucks usually shed their antlers during the same week each year. Other studies of captive deer show that bucks usually shed both antlers within three days of each other.
Check out this photo of some of the sheds from our yearlings!