How Abnormal Shedding Can Influence Antler Growth

How Abnormal Shedding Can Influence Antler Growth

Posted 2019-06-25T01:09:00Z  by  Owen Reigler

Answering questions about abnormal shedding of antlers

We recently received an Ask Winke question from a fellow named Ben Roberts regarding the topic of abnormal shedding.

Have you ever picked up an abnormal shed antler? (Ben Roberts photo)

I recently watched the video in which Owen discussed the Super Freak buck," Roberts said. "While finding sheds this year, I too, found a match set from one of my hit list bucks with a significant amount of bone attached to both of them. It has been driving me crazy not knowing whether this deer will survive or not. The antlers were laying next to each other in a bedding area with no bones or skull around. I have searched high and low for any sign of a dead buck in the area with no luck."

Roberts' "Hand Buck" is the one in the European mount photo.

Notice the damage and atypical pedicle. (Ben Roberts photo)

If you look close at the pedicle of the messed up antler, you can see it looks like that buck had shed exactly like we are talking about with the Super Freak buck.

Looks like he shed with part of the skull attached as a 2-year-old, if I'm correct on my pictures.

On the European mount, you can see some bone growth where the pedicle tried to repair itself the following year. Also visible is a weird void and crack on the back side of the pedicle.

So, my theory is still the same, I guess. But now we have pictures to show it. If the pedicle is damaged, it will try to repair itself, but if permanent damage occurred, as with abnormal shedding, the buck will likely never grow a normal antler.

Unnatural shedding can result in deformed antlers the following year. (Ben Roberts photo)

After looking over this skull of the Hand Buck, I do not believe the Super Freak buck would have grown a normal antler next year and possibly never again.

However, it's important to point out that deformed antlers from other factors such as body injuries often grow back as normal antlers in the following years. It's important to give these bucks at least two years to grow out of such antler deformities before deciding to cull them from the herd.

That's my assessment. Some of it is speculation on how the pedicle reacts to injury, but I think we've seen enough proof over the years to be reasonably sure that when a buck sheds with a lot of skull bone attached to the antler burr, it never grows a normal antler on that side again.

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