Can body injuries impact a whitetail buck’s antler growth?

By Grant Woods,

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← Grant's AnswersDeer Biology
I’ve heard and read that antler growth may be affected by any injuries a buck may have sustained in the past. My question is, if a buck does sustain an injury to the body, how will it affect antler growth? AND, will antler growth be affected ONLY during the year of the injury, or will it continue after antlers are shed and again be affected the next season, or even for the rest of his life?


There has been research that showed body injuries can impact a buck’s antler growth.  Usually injuries that damage nerves result in larger changes to antler growth. Injuries behind the shoulder often impact antler growth on the opposite side as the wound.  For example an injury to the rear left leg will often result in a non typical growth of the right antler.  

Injuries in front of the shoulders tends to impact the antler on the same side!  If damage to the nerve is permanent than the antler will tend to be non typical throughout the remainder of the buck’s life.

Enjoy creation,


February 24, 2016