The Buck Stops Here


3 buck chuck

Whitetail deer have scent glands between the two parts of the hoof on all four feet, metatarsal glands on the outside of each hind leg, and a larger tarsal gland on the inside of each hind leg at the hock. They also have glands at the base of each antler and in front of each eye. Scent from these glands is used for intraspecies communication, especially during the rutting season.



Males (bucks) possess antlers in Fall and Winter, which are shed sometime between January and March. An occasional doe may also possess antlers. In Texas, hunters take an average of 7 antlered doe deer each season. The antlers (buck or doe) begin to grow out again in April or May, covered with velvet. The velvet contains 1000’s of small blood vessels that nourish these growing antlers. Antlers are true bone, and are the fastest growing body tissue known.

Much research is being done on antler growth, in part, to learn how we can grow BIG antlers on deer, but also to use in the medical field. If we can learn how deer regenerate these things each year, maybe we can learn how to regrow a leg, or arm. The shortening daylight at Summer’s end triggers a hormonal response, which shuts off the blood flow to the antlers, in late August to early September. The dying velvet is then shed by the bucks. Occasionally, a buck will not get the message to stop antler growth and may continuously stay in velvet. These bucks are referred to as “cactus bucks”, since the antlers are usually quite freaky in appearance.

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