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What’s An Antler Worth? Part II

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March 25, 2011

What’s An Antler Worth? Part II

By Scott Bestul

In my last post I described my visit to the Whitetail Classic and Antler Auction last week. There were some serious piles of antlers for sale, and a good-sized crowd of folk present to bid on them. I found the experience fascinating; a glimpse into a subculture/industry that, until this show, I barely knew existed.

Prices were all over the map, but as a rule, antlers from wild deer are far more valuable. Two examples that I witnessed; a single antler scoring 138-2/8” that went for $2,700, and a matched set (with a drop tine on one side) scoring 202-3/8 that fetched $2,900. Moose sheds are similarly valuable, as they are rarely raised in captivity and they are difficult to find. As in all collecting, rarity influences value in the antler world.

The man in this photo is one of the top antler buyers in the country. He’s holding a matched set of very impressive whitetail sheds. However, they will go for a fraction of the cost of the examples I noted above, because these come from a captive deer. So here’s a quickie quiz; how can you tell these are from a pen-raised buck? Hint: Size isn’t the answer.

Sorry, no prizes for guessing correctly this time. But I’ll hop in to the comments and tell you who got it right first and why.

Comments (13)

Top Rated
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from buckhunter wrote 3 years 3 weeks ago

Most deer ranchers cut the antlers off prior to rut so they do not injure themselves or other deer. While in velvet they are also susceptible to infections.

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from Hank111 wrote 3 years 3 weeks ago

Buckhunter took my first guess so I will say its because they dont have all the bark and staining because they are usually artificially inseminated and dont go thru the breeding ritual.

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from HawkEyes wrote 3 years 3 weeks ago

The sign on the table said so. lol

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from HawkEyes wrote 3 years 3 weeks ago

What Hank said would be my second guess. No staining on the antlers.

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from Hank111 wrote 3 years 3 weeks ago

Buckhunter is right about the infection risk while in velvet. The buck Sudden Impact last year as a three year old injured his rack in august before he was finished growing. By the time he showed sign of infection it was too late. At the time of his death he grossed 495 inches, otherwise he would have been the first whitetail to break the 500 inch mark. And he was only three.Yeah they are pen raised but its amazing what they have done by crossing the right genetics, not steroids Walt.

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from BigTex wrote 3 years 3 weeks ago

I'll also vote for "prettier," but not just due to staining, but also the nicks, scratches and marks from rubbing and fighting.

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from antlercrazy wrote 3 years 3 weeks ago

Are the bases different because of later loss of antlers? Captive deer keep their antlers longer because testosterone is given to them and loss of testosterone is why they lose their antlers.

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from Walt Smith wrote 3 years 3 weeks ago

Hank, genetics and Alpo maybe.

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from bjohnston wrote 3 years 3 weeks ago

Pen or pasture kept deer have cleaner antlers. No staining, rubbing or banging against things or other deer.

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from scottbestul wrote 3 years 3 weeks ago

Well Hawkeye gets Brownie Points for humor and originality, but Hank was on to the correct answer almost immediately. Antlers from captive deer are lighter in color. The reason for this, as it was explained to me, was that they were more more calcium-rich and therefore more dense, than those of wild deer. And of course there isn't as much, if any, rubbing going on. Good job guys!

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from HawkEyes wrote 3 years 3 weeks ago

Nice story Mr. Bestul.

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from bass bomber wrote 3 years 3 weeks ago

Thats a nice kudu in the background.

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from keitheye wrote 3 years 2 weeks ago

should be illegal to sell any wild game parts meat ect including domesticated "wild game" deer , elk ect!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

-1 Good Comment? | | Report

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from HawkEyes wrote 3 years 3 weeks ago

The sign on the table said so. lol

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckhunter wrote 3 years 3 weeks ago

Most deer ranchers cut the antlers off prior to rut so they do not injure themselves or other deer. While in velvet they are also susceptible to infections.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Hank111 wrote 3 years 3 weeks ago

Buckhunter took my first guess so I will say its because they dont have all the bark and staining because they are usually artificially inseminated and dont go thru the breeding ritual.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from HawkEyes wrote 3 years 3 weeks ago

What Hank said would be my second guess. No staining on the antlers.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Hank111 wrote 3 years 3 weeks ago

Buckhunter is right about the infection risk while in velvet. The buck Sudden Impact last year as a three year old injured his rack in august before he was finished growing. By the time he showed sign of infection it was too late. At the time of his death he grossed 495 inches, otherwise he would have been the first whitetail to break the 500 inch mark. And he was only three.Yeah they are pen raised but its amazing what they have done by crossing the right genetics, not steroids Walt.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from BigTex wrote 3 years 3 weeks ago

I'll also vote for "prettier," but not just due to staining, but also the nicks, scratches and marks from rubbing and fighting.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from antlercrazy wrote 3 years 3 weeks ago

Are the bases different because of later loss of antlers? Captive deer keep their antlers longer because testosterone is given to them and loss of testosterone is why they lose their antlers.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Walt Smith wrote 3 years 3 weeks ago

Hank, genetics and Alpo maybe.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from bjohnston wrote 3 years 3 weeks ago

Pen or pasture kept deer have cleaner antlers. No staining, rubbing or banging against things or other deer.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from scottbestul wrote 3 years 3 weeks ago

Well Hawkeye gets Brownie Points for humor and originality, but Hank was on to the correct answer almost immediately. Antlers from captive deer are lighter in color. The reason for this, as it was explained to me, was that they were more more calcium-rich and therefore more dense, than those of wild deer. And of course there isn't as much, if any, rubbing going on. Good job guys!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from HawkEyes wrote 3 years 3 weeks ago

Nice story Mr. Bestul.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from bass bomber wrote 3 years 3 weeks ago

Thats a nice kudu in the background.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from keitheye wrote 3 years 2 weeks ago

should be illegal to sell any wild game parts meat ect including domesticated "wild game" deer , elk ect!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

-1 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

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