Watch as Buck Sheds Antler on Video
Russ Chastain 01.18.21
(Image: Screenshot from “buck sheds antler” video)
YouTuber Justin Hoffman recently posted a cool video in which a whitetail buck sheds its only antler right in front of his game cam! Needless to say, this is pretty dang cool.
The antlers of Whitetail deer, like those of many other hoofed ungulates, fall off (or “shed;” think of a snake or lizard shedding its skin) every year, and grow back from literally nothing. During development, each antler is covered by “velvet,” which is a blood-rich substance with a hairy or furry appearance. And under the velvet, the antlers are actually malleable to a certain extent.
Once the miracle (what else can you call it?) of these amazing antlers developing and shaping themselves in the air above the buck’s head, the antlers harden. The velvet’s blood supply is cut off, then it’s rubbed off as the deer rubs his new antlers against small trees or saplings. The result is the “rack” of antlers we deer hunters are used to seeing in the deer woods.
Incidentally, antlers are not horns; horns continue to grow throughout life, much like hair, claws, or fingernails.
Back to the video: Justin had been observing this buck for months, and after its right antler was broken off while still in velvet last July he named it “One Side.”
The one side that remained was actually pretty nice, with one heck of a long brow tine and a good bit of mass.
In the video, Ol’ One Side stands perfectly before the camera, looking around alertly before lowering its head, then shaking it back & forth. I would imagine that when an antler starts to separate from a buck’s head, it probably itches or causes some other sensation which prompts a buck to shake its head. At any rate, he shakes his head violently enough that we hear a crack as the antler separates from its spot on the head (the pedicel), then hits the snowy ground nearby as the newly-bald buck trots off a little ways.
Fast forward to the next morning, and we see a younger buck, this one with two antlers, approach the camera site. Curiously, he approaches the shed antler, even touching it with his nose as he gives it a good sniffing before he strolls off into the woods.
Getting to watch as one buck sheds an antler on video is pretty dang neat, but seeing another buck checking out the discarded antler is even cooler. Thanks for sharing, Justin!