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April 9, 2018

elk antler growth cycle

These areas are typically draw only and hard to acquire permits for, as we all know too well! All antlered animals have a velvet phase, which helps antler growth by providing a blood supply to the growing bone. Only males have them and they use them to fight over mating rights. Lastly, a bull can have Michael Jordan genetics, reach a mature age, but if he experiences poor range conditions due to drought, he will not grow maximum antlers that year. As the summer progresses and we approach early to mid August, testosterone levels increase in the bulls. When you see elk antlers and realize they’re shed and regrown every year, it makes you wonder, “How fast do these antlers grow?”. Velvet is considered to be one of the fastest growing mammal tissue on earth. The antler-growing period is shortest for yearling bulls (about 90 days) and longest for healthy, mature bulls (about 140 days). This rise in hormone levels, results in the antlers hardening and the bulls subsequently rub off the drying velvet revealing the hardened antlers underneath. April through May (Spring) Antler growth begins from the permanent bases on the male cervid's skull. They have returned with some nice finds and we are anticipating another great antler growth year for Arizona. The melatonin acts as a messenger and triggers other hormones in a … It is slow to start, growing from the tip out. So, if you’ve been watching a “monster” all summer and figure he’s somewhere around 140-150, you’d better give up on him becoming a 170-inch Booner. If a bull is spooked he may very well damage his antlers running through trees before they are fully developed. Antlers are counted as part of the skull referred to as a pedicle. The entire shedding process can take anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks to complete depending on how active the bull is with his tree raking. The primary reason for this is that the amount of daylight is much less than what it will be in June. Antler growth starts at the tip and initially forms as a cartilage, which is later replaced by a bone-like tissue that is similar to a honeycomb. Growth Cycle The annual casting and growth of new antlers is an important part of the whitetail's mystique. Every year, antlers grow on the heads of deer, elk, moose, and other cervids faster than any other growing bone on the planet. But, generally speaking, a bull’s antler rack becomes larger and wider the older he gets. Shedding happens every year in between the months of January and April. Older bulls shed their antlers the earliest and begin regrowing new ones the earliest. This all takes place due to the bull’s hormone levels. The adult male elk begin to grow new antlers in spring. A bull’s antler growing potential is based on these factors; Genetics, Age, & feed quality which influences the bull’s overall health. A new antler bud grows in the pedicle of the animal’s skull. Sure as I will never be 7 feet tall and play in the NBA, a bull with inferior genetics for antler growth will never be 400″ or even 350″ for that matter. After shedding each year, antler growth begins in late March or early April depending on the age of the bull. The more in tune you are with the antler cycle of your local herd and their preferred range from late February through early April, the better your chances of finding a trophy. As I write this article, it is the first week of March here in eastern Texas, and I just got off the phone with someone excited about finding a freshly worked scrape. Now he is a 164-inch 11-pointer with an estimated body weight of about 240 pounds. Antler growth, when you consider it, is an amazing miracle of nature by our Creator’s grand design. During early to mid stages of growth, the antlers are very sensitive and can be susceptible to injury which can result in abnormal antler growth. Deer Antler Growth Cycle. In 2020, there will be full moons on August 3, September 2, and October 1 and 31 (a “Blue Moon” on Halloween). We have officially started another year of the elk. When complete the rack weighs 25 to 40 pounds and can be 3.9 feet long with a span 5 feet wide.  To reach this size the bone grows nearly an inch a day! This miraculous occurrence is why elk antler velvet has been used in the Orient for medicinal purposes for thousands of years. Just before the rut begins the antlers stop growing and the males rub off the velvet against shrubs and trees to shed the dead skin.  Below, a bull has shed all his velvet except for a bit hanging from the tip. Bulls will typically reach their peak antler development somewhere between the age of 8 to 12 years. Roughly 70% of the antler growth takes place in the last half of the period, when the antlers of a mature bull will grow two-thirds of an inch each day. It is at this time every spring, that breeders of elk collect the velvet antler under hygienic supervision. The pedicles are a permanent fixture on the bull’s forehead, and are also the point from which the antlers annually break off. Pedicles are what antlers develop from and are the knobby, skin-covered nubs protruding from the elk’s skull that serve to support the antlers. Antlers are grown and shed annually from the heads of male deer, elk, moose, and caribou. Antler growth accelerates in June and July when antlers can grow a ½ inch to 1 inch per day. I have no first hand knowledge of its’ claimed medicinal value, however. It is amazing to watch bulls antlers develop during the summer. Secondly, most bucks are still stressed from the long winter so their overall body is in recovery mode. Here is how I would break down the moon’s effect on elk hunting for 2020: I typically like to hunt early, and you’ll remember that we had so… At this time, the deer's antlers are hard and durable, making them useful for warding off predators or sparring with other male deer in hopes of winning a mate. When considering antler growth, we must remember that antler growth is secondary to body care and maintenance. This velvet feeds the antlers the vitamins and minerals necessary to build up the bone, and to promote normal antler growth. What does this mea. All Rights Reserved. As you may observe in the photos, I use Trophy Rock mineral supplement to help maximize this process. Just what are antlers and how do they develop? That is why if you are shed hunting in March you may be finding larger fresh sheds (“browns”) while at the same time observing smaller bulls with antlers still attached. At this stage, the antler contains a wealth of nutrients, growth factors, minerals, and amino acids. Looking at September, you’ll find that the moon will be mostly bright during the first week of the month, then fading out and hitting New Moon (no moon) right in the middle of the month (17th). Photos on this blog are used by permission and are copyrighted material.  If you wish to use a photo please leave a comment with your request. The seasonal onset of reproductive activity (rut) in stags is associated with rising circulating levels of gonadotrophins and consequently testosterone secretion. It appears low level of testosterone levels are due, in part, to a loss of responsiveness by the testes to LH as well as a low level of secretion of LH during the antler … While this particular buck is in the Kerr Wildlife Management Area Deer Pen Research Facility, its antler development is representative of whitetails throughout the Texas Hill Country. The antlers then undergo an annual cycle of calcification, cleaning, casting and regeneration which is also regulated by the changes in the secretion of testosterone from the testes. If all of these factors come together on a given year, you have the potential for maximum, trophy size antlers.

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