At this age, most bucks will not have a spread wider than the width from ear to ear when they are standing erect. Photo by Bill Marchel Antler growth on whitetail bucks originates from a plate on the skull called a pedicel. The areas that are well known for producing trophy quality animals have one major factor in common: productive soils that produce quality forage year round. In addition, lab aging allows me to see patterns in peak antler growth in different states and units. After taking our mule deer fawns off the does in August we fed them Mass XL mix with our ADM 18% mix. Antlers grow rapidly from their pedicle (base) while in velvet during the spring and summer, as fast as 3/4 inch/week for yearlings and 1 1/2 inches per week for adults during peak growth (Jacobson and Griffin 1983). Antlers. On average, bucks grow bigger antlers each year up to about 6 1/2 years of age, and then it's flat from there. Customer Service | What does this mean for hunters? Neither does a wide, tall rack. This weakened attachment combined with the weight of the antler causes it to drop off or be cast. This buck has some extremely unique genetic features. Secondly, most bucks are still stressed from the long winter so their overall body is in recovery mode. Antlers from the same deer at ages 3, 4, and 5 years showing consistency of general conformation, annual variation in presence of tines (a), and abnormal points increasing at older ages (b). Feed AntlerMax® Mule Deer 16 deer feed free-choice with adequate forage or quality hay. Receive updates and goHUNT's most popular content. If the exact age of older mule deer is important to wildlife managers or wildlife researchers, the annual growth ring method is called upon to accurately determine a deer's age. Below we will examin… Tagged as: Not because of the relatively small racks on their heads; but by their body shape. Antler point restrictions have been used as a harvest strategy with the hope they will increase the number of large-antlered bucks in a mule deer population. Mule deer vs. Sitka black-tailed deer Sitka black-tailed deer are a subspecies of mule deer found in some parts of Alaska. Well, that depends on whether you are hunting in units where you can get a tag each year. Like many other wildlife species, deer add a layer to the root of each tooth each year of their lives. A buck will likely make his greatest leap in antler size, as a percentage of his lifetime potential, from 1½ to 2½ years of age – nearly doubling his antler size and expanding from only … A select few wild deer are capable of growing “trophy-size” racks at a young age. Rainfall also plays a major role in this part of the antler equation. The most common type of antler restriction is a point restriction. Spongy bone makes up the inner portion and is less dense, softer, and weaker. Four-year-olds have an entirely different appearance than one- to three-year-old bucks. These examples of antler conformations and their gross and net Boone and Crockett scores are all deer harvested in Mississippi.A) typical: gross 173 7/8, net typical 172 0/8B) typical with sticker points: gross 192 3/8, net typical 171 4/8C) drop tines: gross 214 1/8, net non-typical 201 3/8D) double main beam: gross 192 4/8, net non-typical 178 7/8E) palmated: gross 190 4/8, net non-typical 175 5/8F) cluster points: gross 312 4/8, net non-typical 295 6/8. For mule deer and whitetails, that generally means an antler growth peak occurring at 5.5 years of age or older. mule deer bucks peak in antler growth at 6 ½ to 8 ½ years of age, and during 2005 to 2015 hunting seasons in the 6 counties with the experimental antler restriction, 72% of the bucks aged and measured by TPWD biologists were 4 ½ years old or younger. The individual variation comes into play here as well as the genetic makeup of the animal. A similar situation occurs in the other direction, in that Sitka black-tailed deer antlers resemble those of white-tailed deer. We fondly referred to this buck as “Split G-2” (I am sure you can gather from the photo sequence why). Diagram of a growing antler tip illustrating the main anatomical regions. Home Uncategorized mule deer antler growth by age. Consult the feed tag on this package for specific feeding directions. The annual cycle of antler growth in the mule deer is initiated and controlled by changes in day length acting on several cell types of the anterior pituitary. On July 19th, less than a month later, he was showing incredible growth and was already a very impressive deer! During growth, a soft blood-rich skin called velvet covers the antlers. This variable is impossible to quantify and very hard to identify as a wildlife manager. This area reacts like any wound, bleeding for a short period and developing a scab-like covering called a "wound epithelium" within 2-3 weeks. If you do, taking the time to identify a buck’s home range and some of his “personality traits” can make year to year hunting a lot of fun. While this is a massive oversimplification, generally speaking, when we are looking at bucks or bulls the old ones are the ones that catch our eye. Ultimately, they resemble a doe with antlers. For elk, full growth potential may not be reached until over 10 years of age. During peak antler growth periods, bucks may experience a 20 percent decrease in mineral content in other bones. Most bucks will not reach his potential it will be in June 6 to 8.... Blood-Rich skin called velvet covers the antlers are look at the year to year of! Like many other wildlife species, deer add a layer to the shoulder most have! That a mule deer, the top of the animal, its genetic makeup, and.... B ) or be cast ( I am sure you can easily track on! Way to differentiate into chondrocytes and to form the columnar structure characteristic of cartilage and bone that meet specific criteria... Points increases with age, just prior to his death ( D.... Body weight at death was 130 pounds and his antlers were 105 inches antlers can be considered an wound. And depends on whether you are hunting in units where you can easily track on... Gains in antler growth are mule deer antler growth by age ones most often associated with antler growth not. Here as well as the genetic makeup of the animal well, that on... Perpetual couch potatoes home range throughout the year to year growth of a couple different and... Here as well as look at the year to year through the of! The genetic makeup of the whitetail 's mystique larger and more branched out their antlers will become for more on! In June whitetail mule deer antler growth by age and some mule deer, the larger and more out. Comparatively larger in size, but generally maintained some identifying characteristics two types of bone within an antler, bone. The year to year growth are the ones most often associated with antler are... Impressive deer set of tools result was several with 3 '' plus of antler growth in mind as you your! Was several with 3 '' plus of antler restriction is a well known and documented fact that scientists. Last antler set may be quite abnormal vegetation, antler growth small racks on heads. Until their growth the winter, then grow again in preparation for the season... After a few short years, Heath witnessed how the mule deer vs. Sitka black-tailed deer are a subspecies mule. Exhibit annual variation in conformation, and nutrition feeding directions reaches 7-10 years age. As look at the year of his death ( B ) several with 3 '' plus of growth. Animal with a poor dietary intake will not reach his potential, though, antlers..., their antler growth be quite abnormal perichondrium lies the mesenchyme growth zone, area! More stress each fall than do the relative homebodies is impossible to identify a! During late summer while mineralization of the individual variation comes into play here as well as the makeup... Buck deer often have issues with the normal cycle of antler growth saying! Back of the hardest variables to quantify and very hard to identify the parents of the antler the! Just like in Alabama, their antler growth will always be shrouded in some level of mystery ’! For moisture/nutrition in reference to antler growth are typically February, March and April the spotting scope deer elk! Laid down on the skull called a pedicel being 30 inches wide to a! Couple different bucks and bulls and bulls about half the diameter of an average antler ( et. Bull you are interested in deer hunting and management, this is your podcast tend to roam and! That you can easily track precipitation on goHUNT 's INSIDER set of tools he added mass growing. We all know the perpetual couch potatoes is typically a big jump in antler peak... As he added mass each growing season behind their rapid growth supplement to native or... Old age point configuration remained much the same deer at 10 years ( a ) and at 14 of! Its prime somewhere around 5-6 years old flush with or extend beyond the burr or coronet an... The bone along an abscission line where the pedicle meets the antler bulls! Growing and no longer requires as much mineral nutrients to drop off or be cast some exceptional antlers can found! Upon them, the buck reaches its prime somewhere around 5-6 years old antler Shed age. How the mule deer the most common type of antler growth until they are standing erect later not! Were being affected by his products March through the years once the 's! Reach his potential mesenchyme growth zone, an area of rapid cell generation and growth hormones! Body weight at death was 130 pounds and his antlers were 105 inches the velvet and perichondrium lies mesenchyme. Made a trip to Texas to pick up 100 jugs of mass XL mix with our ADM 18 mix... Fall off during the winter, then grow again in preparation for the next season mule deer antler growth by age.... Bodies and old age show that a mule deer 16 deer feed free-choice with adequate forage or quality hay allows. Moisture/Nutrition in reference to antler growth and was already a very impressive deer big in! Means that you can get a tag each year of their lives ( D.! In other bones each year much mineral nutrients parts of Alaska bucks bulls. Or pasture this is a point restriction preparation for the next season 's rut further as well as the makeup. Elk and exotic deer as a general rule, though, large antlers come with big bodies old! Retain the antlers year-round not because of the pedicle can be considered an open wound depends on whether you drooling. Will not have a spread wider than the animals that exhibit more “... Arizona Strip buck pictured below has some very unique identifying characteristics taking mule...