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Deer Antlers Fall Off and Regrow Every Year

Finding an antler is like Christmas morning all over again for shed hunters, and no shed hunting is not someone looking for a new storage unit or Morton building to store their boat in. Shed hunting is the time where deer, specifically males, shed their antlers. I would say mid February to mid March is the best time to gather up antlers throughout the woods here in the midwest. However, there is no telling when you'll randomly stumble upon one.

I went around and asked the guys at the Chicago office if they knew that the antlers of a deer fall off ever year and they were mind blown, which is why I figured I should definitely share this information with everyone else! 

Deer have regenerative antlers and are actually one of the fastest-growing tissues in all of the animal kingdom. The pedicle, which is connected to the skull, is the piece of bone that antlers grow from. These pedicles, that is attached to the skull, along with the antler, falls off of the deer and regrows in a yearly cycle. 

So the question raised would be "Why do they fall off in the first place?"

During mating season, which is called rut, the bucks (male deer) will have increased testosterone levels. Here in the midwest the rut usually occurs during the months of November - December. After the rut their testosterone levels start to decline. Then osteoclast cells come along degrading the existing bone tissue of the pedicle and antler, causing them to fall off. 

Does it hurt the deer when they fall off? Not one bit.

Late spring comes around and males start to regrow their antlers. Their hormonal output regulates the rate they grow at. 

Something unique that I have read up on was that their hormones are influenced by the amount of daylight they are exposed to. When the male deer has an increase exposure to daylight then it will cause their melatonin levels to decrease, which triggers a surge of hormones in the deer, inciting antler growth. 

Obviously this is a shorten explanation, but the whole thing is super intriguing.