Bucks sheding antlers early in your area?

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Chasin Tail
 
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Bucks sheding antlers early in your area?

Postby Chasin Tail » Sun Jan 31, 2010 6:09 am

I live and hunt in South Central Nebraska and noticed this year that a lot of the bucks had shed their antlers before January 15th (end of late season doe only (antler-less)) and some before the end of December. Has anyone else noticed this in their neck of the woods?

Some observations that may have led to this, the past year was unusually dry here this may have affected the protein in the forage. There was plenty water available for drinking around here. Then around December 22nd we had a sudden and drastic change in the weather. It went from 40's and 50's to +10 down to -20 in a short period of time. We also received an unusual amount of snow which blanketed most of the ground and when the deer came out to feed they had to dig through the snow to get to the food. I have heard some people say they froze off but I think it was more likely stress or nutritionally related. I know that normally they shed when the testosterone level in their body drops but around here I have seen bucks with their antlers still on in March. I heard that a hunter not far from here went to drag his deer during rifle season (November 14th -22nd) and both antlers came off. This would lead me to believe it must be something with the forage as this was before the weather changed and I don't think the weather could have caused the premature drop in a week or two.

Do we have any biologists out there who could "shed" some light on this.

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SHKYBoonie
 
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RE: Bucks sheding antlers early in your area?

Postby SHKYBoonie » Sun Jan 31, 2010 6:12 pm

I am no biologist, but I have seen this kinda thing happen a few times. In KY where I hunt it isn't uncommon for some bucks to drop the first or second week of Jan. Where you are it gets a bit colder and you have more hard Winters than we do. The only way a buck will drop his head gear is by his testosterone levels dropping. It may be that the rut ended early and most all the does in that area were bred or it may be the stress from a hard Winter then or coming. Some bucks may keep their antlers a bit longer if there are many does in the area, because their senses tell them they may still have to fight to breed. Deer have a keen sense that lets them know ahead of time what to be ready for, it might be bad weather or it may be a second or even a third rut cycle. Anyway, from what I have learned from biologist I know is, the drop in testosterone can be from one of two things, the rut being over or stress regardless of what the stress came from.

To add one more bit of info, if the bucks lacked nutrition or water during the growth stages of antlers, it would show in antlers size as a whole. It would not have an effect on whether or not they drop them early. Unless you have an abstract number of deer in the area, the deer will get what they need to sustain their normal behaver. The only way I see nutrition being a factor is if there were a drought that didn't grow much forage and the mast crop suffered tremendously or the carrying capacity of the area is severely breeched. That would put enough stress on them added to the rut to make them drop early.

Hope this helps.

bowman12
 
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RE: Bucks sheding antlers early in your area?

Postby bowman12 » Mon Feb 01, 2010 10:16 am

In our area of northern MN, if we have alot of snow they drop them early January, if it's a mild winter they can keep them until March. Usually they drop them in early February. I often wondered if it has to do with the amount of nutrition available. If they are eating well, mild winter with little snow, they keep them longer. If we have alot of snow, not eating very well, they drop them early.
My guess is the snowfall you received caused them to drop early and is it because they had less nutrition, or burn more calories moving, or that they've slowed down metabollically as is normal for whitetails to do during the winter? I wonder if they drop them when their metabolism slows down?
 
Sorry, not much help!? Just more questions.

lonlon
 
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RE: Bucks sheding antlers early in your area?

Postby lonlon » Mon Feb 01, 2010 2:10 pm

antlers early in your area? Page: [1]
Central Wis, have found 12 sheds so far, first one was mid Dec, this last weeknd we found 5. I saw 2 bucks On Sunday, one nicer ten point was hot on a doe, looked just like the Nov rut! I think each individual deer is different when it comes to casting, physical condition being most important.

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Chasin Tail
 
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RE: Bucks sheding antlers early in your area?

Postby Chasin Tail » Mon Feb 01, 2010 3:35 pm

I am thinking along the same lines that you guys are. It may be a combination of several things, but  I am always looking to learn something new about whitetails. I moved here from Colorado 6 years ago and they have been my passion ever since, I never hunted whitetails until I then, as Elk kind of took most of the thunder. The more I learn and observe, the more I understand about there behavior and the biology of the whitetail. All of this has made me more passionate about the biology and nature of this magnificent animal. The insight I get from the collective is priceless. What each and every one here on this forum has experienced in the field that gives us clues to the make up of one of the most amazing creatures on earth. This is what makes all better hunters and conservationists.

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SHKYBoonie
 
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RE: Bucks sheding antlers early in your area?

Postby SHKYBoonie » Mon Feb 01, 2010 9:23 pm

One good thing about them dropping early is that studies have shown that bucks that drop earlier than others seem to put on more antlers the next year. I guess it has to do with the fact that they have a longer growth period. As soon as a buck drops his antlers, the pedicles start new growth from what I am told. Of course, if they lack nutrition throughout the growing period, that could slow things down enough for them not to reach their potential that year also. I don't know any of this for a fact, so feel free to correct me if I'm wrong. I have only read a few articles on this type thing.
 
Bucks are different just like people. Some older more mature bucks have even been documented to not breed at all. Some run themselves to death trying to breed everything they can before it's over. I have one buck on my farm that just disappears before the rut and shows up again after it is over. He's an older guy at about 5 1/2 yrs. old. I have been watching him through camera pics for the last 3 years. He does the same thing every year. I know he breeds some but he's not just love stupid over it like some of the other bucks on the farm.

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Chasin Tail
 
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RE: Bucks sheding antlers early in your area?

Postby Chasin Tail » Thu Feb 04, 2010 1:38 pm

Well I will be excited to see if your right about larger antlers the following year. I have one buck in particular hanging around I named double wide who, if he has better mass and height next year wont get passed up again. I have been clearing out about two acres of trees and brush between the bedding area and the fields to plant a food plot for them. I didn't want to jump into tearing out trees without studying their habits first with hopes this will improve the overall health of the heard, produce better bucks, and give me a place they may congregate to observe them further. I have worked at thinning the doe population the last few years, and will continue to shoot primarily does on my farm until I achieve a better buck / doe ratio. I haven't gone out shed hunting yet as the weather has not been the most hospitable, but anxiously await a decent day to do so.

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sagittarius
 
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RE: Bucks sheding antlers early in your area?

Postby sagittarius » Mon Mar 01, 2010 3:28 pm

28-Feb-2010 ... 12 deer came in to the sugarbeet plot just before sunset.  Three of which still had antlers.   Keep in mind, here in SE Wisconsin, there is limestone poking out of the ground everywhere.  The fence rows are made up of piles of lime stone rocks.   The soil is a natural PH between 6.4 and 6.9 ... there is plenty of calcium and magnesium in the soil.  
 
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"The real problem is not how we shall handle the deer in this emergency. The real problem is one of human managment. Wild life managment is comparatively easy; human management difficult." Aldo Leopold, March 1943


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