Every year, as the dead of winter begins and the rut winds down, big game from the deer family like whitetail, mule deer, elk, caribou, and moose begin to shift their focus from breeding to survival through the harsh late winter months until spring. This transition period can wear many bucks and bulls down to sheer exhaustion by the time spring arrives. Subsequently, testosterone levels drop, leading both mule and whitetail bucks to prioritize feeding and bedding to help them conserve energy and survive.
Additionally, as behavior patterns begin their rapid transformation, the headgear male deer spent all summer growing suddenly becomes completely worthless. The pedicle begins to lose its grip and shed antlers eventually pop free of the animal’s head. To witness a deer shed falling is a rare sight, but on rare occasion, humans are able to capture the special moment with well-placed trail cameras. This video shows a mule deer’s antler coming free as it shakes its head.
Shed hunting doesn’t get much easier than that. Why can’t we have that kind of luck when out looking for tines every spring? It’s hard to believe that extensive antler growth cycle ends with bucks discarding those bones in bedding and feeding areas like common trash. However, nature’s perfect design means the antlers then provide calcium and other nutrients to a plethora of other animals. Unless, of course, a shed hunter finds it picks it up first.
As sad as it is to see hunting season coming to an end, we do enjoy getting outside and hiking to look for deer antlers every spring. It’s a good way to scout public land and to see what animals will survive to grow new antlers next season. Also, matching up a set of sheds is a tremendous challenge that can be extremely rewarding.
We found this video fascinating because the buck clearly knew an antler was gone. We’re not sure if he was thrown off balance or if it becomes irritating for the remaining antler to still be there after the other falls. Either way, it’s fascinating to see the animal’s reaction and it helps give us a better idea of how to search for the matches of any antlers we find this spring!
For more outdoor content from Travis Smola, be sure to follow him on Twitter and check out his Geocaching and Outdoors with Travis YouTube channels.
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