shaman wrote:It's a health thing. If the buck is healthy and unstressed, he may keep them until Spring. If the rut was hard or the winter is exceptionally bad, he may drop them early in the Winter.
I agree. Health is always a factor that affects the timing of antler casting.
Other stressors that may cause bucks to drop antlers early:
• They may be underfed.
• They may be harassed by more dominant bucks.
• They may be hosting parasites.
• They may suffer an injury.
• They may be harassed by predators.
Whatever stress the buck experiences may not be visible, but it all adds up. When the stress factors are low or the buck is able to cope with them well, he'll generally drop his antlers at about the same time every year.
On my trail cameras I've seen two bucks that shed one antler. in early December. But trail camera photos are not very revealing. They might have been broken prematurely.
When the Everyday Hunter
isn't hunting, he's thinking about hunting, talking about hunting, dreaming about hunting, writing about hunting, or wishing he were hunting.