Weekend Activity: Go Antler Shed Hunting!

Whitetails, especially in Ohio, are well-known for their antlers. The white-tailed buck grows its first set of antlers when it is one year old. Each year, a buck’s antlers begin growing in the early spring. The developing antler is covered with a thick velvety skin rich with blood vessels and nerves. Decreasing day length in the late summer and early fall triggers many physical changes in the buck, including termination of the blood supply to the antlers. The antlers begin to harden soon thereafter and by August or September, the velvet is shed as the buck rubs his antlers against trees and other solid objects in the fields and woods. The buck is left with a rack of hard polished antlers.

Unlike horns of cattle, antlers are not a permanent part of a male deer’s body. In Ohio, bucks typically shed or drop their antlers in December and January, following the fall breeding season… making this time of year a great time to go hunting for antler sheds!

You can keep an antler that naturally shed from a deer as long as you obtain it on land you are legally permitted to be on – make sure you have permission from the landowner on private land. Also, remember while visiting public lands you may only harvest nuts, mushrooms, berries, or pick up naturally shed deer antlers during the daylight hours. Learn more about special regulations that apply to all properties owned, leased, or under control of the ODNR Division of Wildlife: http://ow.ly/9DNb309MFwP

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