What causes a buck’s antlers to shed?

By GrowingDeer,

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First off I would like to tell you how much I like what your are doing on your website and videos. Also, I have caught some interviews with Christian Berg from Petersen’s Bowhunting. Most recently with Korby Taylor, truly great stuff, I really enjoy listening to you. I have an interesting question about antler drop. I live in a unique state for whitetail (Florida). We have the most diverse rut in the US. In fact in Polk County (where I lease) we have yet to have breeding take place (based on the fawn births), while other areas have long since completed. My question is antler drop. My deer rub off the velvet in the 1st week of October. Breeding takes place in……mid/late February. There are already areas in the state (south and north of me 60 miles) that already bred, and have just dropped. I have pics from bucks (most recent was 2 weeks ago) with their antlers. The loooong winded question……what determines the drop in a “normal” non-stressed environment? End of breeding? A set time (i.e. 90 days)? I never thought much about it until now. I am also wondering, can and will they breed (primary phase) well after they drop? Thanks for any time and answers you may provide.

Sincerely, Bo

I agree – Florida is unique! Antler drop is a function of increasing day length and decreasing testosterone. The increasing day length is like a starter cue. This sets the process in action. However, bucks will hold antlers as long as their testosterone is above a threshold. Bucks that get injured, etc., often drop much earlier than healthy bucks. The rate of day length increase is close to the same throughout Florida – but the testosterone levels very significantly as does are mostly bred in some areas and haven’t started becoming receptive in other areas. No one (that I’m aware) fully understands why deer follow the breeding patterns they do in Florida.