Outdoors

Mule deer buck already showing promise

A mule deer buck with antlers in velvet photographed in Montana on June 6, 2013. (Jaime Johnson)
A mule deer buck with antlers in velvet photographed in Montana on June 6, 2013. (Jaime Johnson)

WILDLIFE — Deer antlers are among the fastest types of tissue growth in mammals.

Each year, a buck's antlers typically begin growing in April in response to increasing day length. They develop fully in four months.

When the antlers are growing, they are full of nerves and blood vessels and are covered with a hairy skin covering tissue commonly called “velvet.” Antler growth is like building a skyscraper. What is first built is the structure or a frame or matrix. Think of pouring concrete; you must first build a form. That is what deer do. During the early summer, deer antlers are soft to the touch or spongy. Towards the middle of summer, as the form is being finished, the deer begins to “pour” the bone. — Izaak Walton League report

It's early in the antler growing season, but this buck  spotted by Montana outdoor photographer Jaime Johnson is showing a lot of potenti

See you this fall.




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Rich Landers

Rich Landers’ Outdoors blog


Rich Landers writes and photographs stories for a wide range of outdoors coverage, including a Sunday feature section and a Thursday column. He also writes the Outdoors Blog.


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