Yamaha Outdoors Tips — Incredible Antlers

By Bob Humphrey

With August winding down antlers are approaching their maximum size.  In a few short weeks they’ll stop growing, die and shed their velvety coating.  Here are a few things you may or may not have known about these incredible works of natural art. 

Next to cancerous cells, antlers are the fastest growing tissue in the animal kingdom, capable of growing up to an inch a day during peak periods. 

Antlers are deciduous, meaning a deer will shed and regrow a new set every year. 

Each antler attaches to the skull at a permanent protrusion of bone called a pedicel. 

The knobby, flared ring just above the point of attachment is called a burr. 

The roughly textured knobby projections around the antler bases are called perlations. 

Easterners count all the tines or points, including the end of the main beam.  Thus an eight point buck has eight points.  Westerners only count one side.  A western count four point buck actually has eight points.

A-typical or abnormal points growing off the main beam or other tines are referred to by several colorful terms like sticker points (or stickers), kickers, cheaters or drop tines.

Just before antlers “die,” soft antler tissue is converted to bone through a process called mineralization, where minerals are deposited within the matrix of cartilage and blood vessels. 

Injury to a hind limb will result in abnormal antler growth on the opposite side of the body.

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