Antler Color

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Demoderby4
 
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Antler Color

Postby Demoderby4 » Tue Oct 21, 2008 3:05 pm

Probably an amateur question, but i have always wondered what contributes to a deer antler's color? I was looking at the two sets i have from the bucks i have shot and the one rack is more of a darker colored brown and the other one is more white and yellowish. I believe the more brown rack is from an older deer, but im not sure, i wasn't as avid as a hunter back then than i am now and i didnt age them when i shot em. I have heard sunlight affects the antlers color by bleaching them somewhat if a buck spends a lot of time in sunlight but i was just wondering what affects deer antler color? Age? the sun? nutrition? 

coach
 
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RE: Antler Color

Postby coach » Tue Oct 21, 2008 3:21 pm

Good evening Demoderby4
 
I know for a fact its not age.  I shot  a 1.5 yr old 7 points buck,(7 years ago)  with a very dark chocolate rack.  Last year I shot a nice mature 10 point with the same dark rack.  Genes ??  I'm  pretty sure that sunlight might play a roll.  If a deer stays in cedar swamps or shaddy area.  Not 100% sure.
Food....I don't think so...cause where I hunt there is no farmland, no accorns, no apple trees....just miles of high ridges and swamps and we got different colour racks.   Lets say that in the last 56 years hunting that location....only a hand full of coloured racks were taken.    good question !!

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Woods Walker
 
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RE: Antler Color

Postby Woods Walker » Tue Oct 21, 2008 3:25 pm

This is just my .02...not necessarily scientific.....
 
I think that part of it may be nutrition (iron content in the soil?), part may be from what type of tree that the deer rubbed on (I've heard oldtimers...before I was one [;)]...say that deer that rub on cedars or other real "sappy" type tree are darker), and lastly it may have to do with when you see/kill the deer in relation to when he shed his velvet.
 
After all, those antlers where blood filled not too long before, and maybe it has something to do with any blood still left in them????
 
This is a good thread topic. I'd like to see what others have to say.
 
One thing's for sure, it has absolutely NOTHING to do with whether  the buck was killed with a compound, traditional, or crossbow!!!!  [:D] [;)]
Hunt Hard,

Kill Swiftly,

Waste Nothing,

Offer No Apologies.....

>>>--------------------------------->
NRA Endowment Life Member

coach
 
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RE: Antler Color

Postby coach » Tue Oct 21, 2008 3:47 pm

Hey guys.....I just got off the website "Quality Deer Management Association".
This is what they expert says
----------------------------------
On a lighter note, the second question asked about different coloration in antlers. Several factors may be responsible. According to Dr. Bubenik, antler color depends partly on the amount of oxidized blood on the antlers (from velvet shedding) and partly from a chemical reaction between the blood and juices from plants on which the antlers are rubbed. If a buck begins rubbing his antlers before the velvet and blood have completely dried, the blood stains the antler and gives it a darker color. The predominant species of trees in an area also influence the color. Pines allegedly cause darker antlers, likely from bucks rubbing on exposed sap after they break the tree's cambium layer. A buck's genetics may also influence color. Some bucks are predisposed to having lighter or darker antlers, and to rub more or fewer trees. A buck's age can play a role as older bucks tend to rub more than younger animals. Finally, the time of year can influence color as antlers generally lighten over time due to the bleaching effect of moisture, sunlight and extreme winter conditions.

Do individual bucks maintain a consistent color from year to year? According to Dr. Mickey Hellickson, chief wildlife biologist for the King Ranch in south Texas, yes, with a few exceptions. The antlers of some individual bucks gradually become darker as the buck increases in age, likely due to increased rubbing behaviors as his dominance standing improves. The above reasons explain why you may see light, medium or dark antlers throughout the whitetail's range.

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Woods Walker
 
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RE: Antler Color

Postby Woods Walker » Tue Oct 21, 2008 4:00 pm

ORIGINAL: coach

Hey guys.....I just got off the website "Quality Deer Management Association".
This is what they expert says
----------------------------------
On a lighter note, the second question asked about different coloration in antlers. Several factors may be responsible. According to Dr. Bubenik, antler color depends partly on the amount of oxidized blood on the antlers (from velvet shedding) and partly from a chemical reaction between the blood and juices from plants on which the antlers are rubbed. If a buck begins rubbing his antlers before the velvet and blood have completely dried, the blood stains the antler and gives it a darker color. The predominant species of trees in an area also influence the color. Pines allegedly cause darker antlers, likely from bucks rubbing on exposed sap after they break the tree's cambium layer. A buck's genetics may also influence color. Some bucks are predisposed to having lighter or darker antlers, and to rub more or fewer trees. A buck's age can play a role as older bucks tend to rub more than younger animals. Finally, the time of year can influence color as antlers generally lighten over time due to the bleaching effect of moisture, sunlight and extreme winter conditions.

Do individual bucks maintain a consistent color from year to year? According to Dr. Mickey Hellickson, chief wildlife biologist for the King Ranch in south Texas, yes, with a few exceptions. The antlers of some individual bucks gradually become darker as the buck increases in age, likely due to increased rubbing behaviors as his dominance standing improves. The above reasons explain why you may see light, medium or dark antlers throughout the whitetail's range.

 
Well, I had 2 out of 3 right. Good guessin'!  [:)]
Hunt Hard,

Kill Swiftly,

Waste Nothing,

Offer No Apologies.....

>>>--------------------------------->
NRA Endowment Life Member

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bigwisconsinbucks
 
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RE: Antler Color

Postby bigwisconsinbucks » Tue Oct 21, 2008 5:09 pm

I would have to agree that genetics and the type of tree the bucks rub affects the color. I sure do love those chocolate racks.
Kyle

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buckhunter21
 
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RE: Antler Color

Postby buckhunter21 » Tue Oct 21, 2008 6:12 pm

Lots of good theories here...I've always heard that it's a combination of what they rub on and being in the direct contact with the sun.  i.e. Bucks that don't have a lot of cover and are in direct sunlight will be different than bucks that are in the thick woods most of their life.

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dmcianfa
 
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RE: Antler Color

Postby dmcianfa » Wed Oct 22, 2008 3:21 am

I've shot bucks in hardwood stands that seem to be more light and blonde in color.  I've also witnessed a massive 12 pointer who later was hit by a car near a thick nasty cedar swamp that had the darkest rack I've ever seen in my life, almost really dark brown or black.  This buck was seen by neighbors hunting this swamp being kicked up during deer drives in the hunting season three times.  noone got a shot, but his luck ran out with the Dodge caravan.  I wholeheartily believe that a buck's "home" turf has the most influence.  Where he beds and rubs is the most likely culprit I would imagine!  But that is just observations I've come accross, doesn't mean it's the holy bible.  Good topic!!!
"I enjoy and become completely immersed in the challenge and the increased opportunity to become for a time a part of nature. Deer hunting is a classical exercise in freedom. It�s a return to fundamentals that I distinctly feel are basic and right"-F.B.

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EatDeer
 
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RE: Antler Color

Postby EatDeer » Wed Oct 22, 2008 3:52 am

I think the dark racks are the result on dried blood on the antlers after velvet shedding.      If you wash a spot on your dark racked antlers, you will see they are just as white at the core as any other antler. I also agree with the tree sap letting more dirt collect on the antlers, which results in a darker rack. Another factor could be how soon it rained after the deer shedded the velvet. I've seen some really dark racks, it could be possiable that those bucks kept most of the velvet on the racks until it naturally dried and fell off. 
"Let a young buck go, so he can grow."

Demoderby4
 
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RE: Antler Color

Postby Demoderby4 » Wed Oct 22, 2008 6:09 am

wow good theories guys, i didnt even think of the rubbing theory and the blood effecting the color, those make sense to me after reading em, thanks for the feedback, glad i could bring up a interesting topic for us all :) hopefully i'll see one of these racks later today...;_)


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