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When Do Bucks Shed Their Antlers?

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April 24, 2009

When Do Bucks Shed Their Antlers?

By Scott Bestul

We’ve received two letters from readers this week. The first was from Steve Newcomb from Ohio, who reported seeing a buck with antlers in late March. These were hard-horn antlers from last year, and Steve wondered how unusual it was for a buck to still be packing that late in the year.

The answer is an emphatic “kinda”. Though most bucks have shed by late March across whitetail range, there are plenty of exceptions. Easy winters and plentiful food result in unstressed bucks that tend to hold antlers longer. But even when the winter is tough, some bucks are just late shedders. I’ve known several guys who’ve kept captive deer over the years, and they all note that when bucks shed can be a highly individual deal. One buck shed his antlers within 2 days of February 25 every year, regardless of conditions!

Another reader from New York wrote to ask if we knew about a giant whitetail shot last fall in Westchester County. I had not heard of such a buck, but thought I would ask Buck Tracker readers if they had any information. With a long five months until deer season, I am in need of another big deer story fix! Anyone have the scoop on this deer? And of course feel free to share antler-shedding tales and antler growth progress in your area. On a Kansas turkey hunt two weeks ago, I saw a buck sprouting nubs already!

Comments (9)

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from MNhunter23 wrote 4 years 51 weeks ago

I live in the suburbs of Minneapolis and have plenty of deer in my backyard. One buck had his antlers on until the last week in March. A different buck had not only shed his antlers but already was sporting nubs. Now that buck has about 4-5 inches of new growth.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from 2Poppa wrote 4 years 51 weeks ago

I was headin' over to a friends house yesterday, and saw a buck with two does, with each antler as wide as a silver dollar, sproutin' at least 5-inches above his head.

He looked like a good one!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from 2Poppa wrote 4 years 51 weeks ago

Is this the buck in reference?

http://www.nybowhunter.com/2008/09/potential-new-york-state-record.html

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Del in KS wrote 4 years 51 weeks ago

Scott,

If you go to my photo files there is a pic of Steve Binkley's 242 inch Iowa monster shot at 10 ft with a bow on Oct 29, 2008. I personally took the photo in the home of Taxidermist Dan Snowbarger.
In the first week of April 1989 there was a 6 point buck on one of the rifle ranges at Ft. Leonard Wood, MO. His antlers had bleached 'til they were white as rice. Three days ago I was turkey hunting in Butler county Kansas and saw a group of 4 bucks. I had the spotting scope in my blind so got a good look. All had started growing antlers. The best buck was big and bent and grey and old. His antler bases looked as big as my wrists and already had forked. His antlers looked like a possible non-typical. The landowner was with me and said he found a 27 pointer dead a few years ago that made B&C. I am looking forward to a chance to hunt him. That property was not hunted last fall. At least not legally. We saw about 50 deer in 2 days including 15 in one field.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from idahooutdoors wrote 4 years 51 weeks ago

22 whitetail sheds this spring and counting. No elk or mule deer sheds yet. Some country just opening up with the snow melt, so am hoping the best is yet to come. Just hope I get to the sheds before the varmints chew them to pieces. A few pics under my profile and more on my photo blog idahooutdoors.blogspot.com

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from centerpin_drift wrote 4 years 51 weeks ago

Ive got 50 whitetail sheds on the season, this year the bucks in my section of ontario shed thier antlers super early. I found my first antlers of the season on december 28th, 14 of them within 100 yards of eachother

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckhunter wrote 4 years 51 weeks ago

Idahooutdoors, I went through your photos. Fantastic pics and animals and family.

I've seen some fawns born very late into the summer. I'm not sure if this effects the time they drop their antlers or not. I figured their biological clocks must be somewhat behind. I've seened antlered deer into April and have been told some deer keep their racks all year but I doubt that.

Either way I can't wait for opening day of bow season.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from FloridaHunter1226 wrote 4 years 50 weeks ago

Have not heard about that big buck or anything but I will say that I am very unlucky when it comes to looking for sheds. I have only found one pair of shed antlers since beginning and I'm starting to think that was from a dead deer or something cause I have not found any since then. Man, they are hard to find!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckhunter wrote 4 years 50 weeks ago

I was working on one of my rentals in town today and had 3 bucks in the back yard. This house is located right in the middle of town and its funny how tame the deer were. One buck was noticeably much larger than the others. The neighbor said it was a very large 12 pt last year. It's nubs were 3-4 inches long and had very thick bases. I guess those city bucks get pretty big.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report

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from MNhunter23 wrote 4 years 51 weeks ago

I live in the suburbs of Minneapolis and have plenty of deer in my backyard. One buck had his antlers on until the last week in March. A different buck had not only shed his antlers but already was sporting nubs. Now that buck has about 4-5 inches of new growth.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from 2Poppa wrote 4 years 51 weeks ago

I was headin' over to a friends house yesterday, and saw a buck with two does, with each antler as wide as a silver dollar, sproutin' at least 5-inches above his head.

He looked like a good one!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from 2Poppa wrote 4 years 51 weeks ago

Is this the buck in reference?

http://www.nybowhunter.com/2008/09/potential-new-york-state-record.html

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Del in KS wrote 4 years 51 weeks ago

Scott,

If you go to my photo files there is a pic of Steve Binkley's 242 inch Iowa monster shot at 10 ft with a bow on Oct 29, 2008. I personally took the photo in the home of Taxidermist Dan Snowbarger.
In the first week of April 1989 there was a 6 point buck on one of the rifle ranges at Ft. Leonard Wood, MO. His antlers had bleached 'til they were white as rice. Three days ago I was turkey hunting in Butler county Kansas and saw a group of 4 bucks. I had the spotting scope in my blind so got a good look. All had started growing antlers. The best buck was big and bent and grey and old. His antler bases looked as big as my wrists and already had forked. His antlers looked like a possible non-typical. The landowner was with me and said he found a 27 pointer dead a few years ago that made B&C. I am looking forward to a chance to hunt him. That property was not hunted last fall. At least not legally. We saw about 50 deer in 2 days including 15 in one field.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from idahooutdoors wrote 4 years 51 weeks ago

22 whitetail sheds this spring and counting. No elk or mule deer sheds yet. Some country just opening up with the snow melt, so am hoping the best is yet to come. Just hope I get to the sheds before the varmints chew them to pieces. A few pics under my profile and more on my photo blog idahooutdoors.blogspot.com

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from centerpin_drift wrote 4 years 51 weeks ago

Ive got 50 whitetail sheds on the season, this year the bucks in my section of ontario shed thier antlers super early. I found my first antlers of the season on december 28th, 14 of them within 100 yards of eachother

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckhunter wrote 4 years 51 weeks ago

Idahooutdoors, I went through your photos. Fantastic pics and animals and family.

I've seen some fawns born very late into the summer. I'm not sure if this effects the time they drop their antlers or not. I figured their biological clocks must be somewhat behind. I've seened antlered deer into April and have been told some deer keep their racks all year but I doubt that.

Either way I can't wait for opening day of bow season.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from FloridaHunter1226 wrote 4 years 50 weeks ago

Have not heard about that big buck or anything but I will say that I am very unlucky when it comes to looking for sheds. I have only found one pair of shed antlers since beginning and I'm starting to think that was from a dead deer or something cause I have not found any since then. Man, they are hard to find!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckhunter wrote 4 years 50 weeks ago

I was working on one of my rentals in town today and had 3 bucks in the back yard. This house is located right in the middle of town and its funny how tame the deer were. One buck was noticeably much larger than the others. The neighbor said it was a very large 12 pt last year. It's nubs were 3-4 inches long and had very thick bases. I guess those city bucks get pretty big.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report

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