When Do Whitetail Deer Grow Antlers in Texas?

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If you’re wondering; “when do whitetail deer grow antlers in Texas?” I can help. Texas whitetail deer typically start to develop their antlers from around 10 months of age. This is a crucial stage in a whitetail’s life. With proper nutrition, they’ll grow large, strong, and healthy antlers. You can aid this by introducing protein-rich foods as they are weaned. Generally speaking, white-tailed deer will grow their antlers in spring, losing them in winter.

Every year, when the whitetail deer hunting season opens, hunters always want to score the ones with the biggest antlers. Therefore, as hunters continue to understand deer habitats, they must also understand the fundamentals that include the time that whitetail deer grows its antlers. 

When Does the Whitetail Deer Start to Grow its Antlers

For a deer to have the best and healthy antlers it depends on a host of other things. Age, nutrition, and genetics are among the essentials that play a significant role in how strong and fast the antlers grow. Bucks refers to a male deer and it is prudent that it should have strong antlers as the mating season approaches as they use them to fight off the competition. Huge antlers also make bucks stand out among their whitetail peers.

Here is a breakdown of the timeline and the process the whitetail deer antler growth follows by the month. 

April

There is no specific time an individual deer should start growing its antlers, but the timeline begins from late March to early April. Within this period, you can see two stumps of bone from the deer’s pedicles, and they are wrapped in a thin layer of velvet skin. 

The velvet helps to make the antlers grow fast and healthy as it provides the necessary nutrients and oxygen needed for the transition into mature antlers.

In the velvet stage, whitetail deer should avoid any injuries to their antlers. The weather and knocks from other objects could lead to the deer growing abnormal antlers. Since the whitetail deer uses nutrients from their entire body, they must have proper nutrition right from the start.

May

May marks the middle of spring, and it is when bucks require more nutritious foods. Also, within this period, whitetails look for forage and food with high protein value as well as other nutrients. It also marks the period when whitetail deer has fully recovered from the winter, hence the deer’s body can focus on antler growth.

By the time May comes to an end, the deer will start to show a second point on the deer rack. Also, the antler beams will be about half of the length they will be at full maturity.

June

The month of June ushers in the summer, and it follows after a season of rainfall that leaves the vegetation lush and with nutritious food for the whitetail deer. The lush green vegetation is essential in the antler growth process.  

Also, June comes with so much daylight that is necessary to trigger the hormones that make the deer antlers accelerate the growth process. By the time June comes to an end, the buck should have grown all the primary points on its antler racks.

July

July is usually mid-summer, and the buck’s antlers will have grown massive. Throughout this month, the buck will develop stronger antlers as the points and beams will be quite extensive and mature. 

Adequate rainfall generates more nutritious foods that promote healthy antler growth. In the case of drought, antler growth is affected and may be weak or grow abnormally. As July comes to an end, most bucks will have formed full and mature antlers and can begin the hardening process.

August

By mid-August, most bucks will have completed their antler growth, and the blood flow to the antlers will also have decreased. The coming 20 to 25 days is the hardening period, and most antler sizes will appear to shrink while it is the velvet that peels off.

As the deer’s antlers grow to full maturity, the blood supply is cut-off entirely. As the summer continues, bucks of different ages will start to travel in groups as well. During this time, the bucks rub their antlers on trees to shed off the velvet from their antlers.

As the velvet dries, the back muscles strengthen in readiness for the mating season. 

September-November

The months of September to November represent fall. During this period, the bucks are getting ready for the mating season. The whitetail deer’s testosterone level rises, and mature bucks will leave their groups and venture on their own. By this point, they will have fully developed antlers that are strong and mature and can fight other bucks for mating rights. 

December-February

After the fall, the temperature will slowly start to drop. It marks the period after the mating season, and most bucks will shed off their antlers for the new season. As the process begins again, whitetail deer will start to preserve their energy as they keep warm in readiness to grow back their antlers in the coming months.  They will often spend these four months to gather food as they await spring. 

What Is Essential to a Whitetail Deer Antler Growth

Antler growth is determined by:

  • Nutrition
  • Genetics
  • Hormones
  • Age
  • Injury and disease

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Conclusion

Managing whitetail bucks to grow healthy and massive antlers is an expensive affair yet extremely rewarding. In Texas, many game ranches have been selecting antler characteristics genetically, before feeding enormous bucks. Even though it is down to genetics, a healthy diet and nutrition can also make a buck grow massive antlers. 

Whitetail deer hunting is popular in Texas and represents a multi-billion-dollar business. A sizable portion of the hunting industry demands to hunt large whitetail bucks for their trophy antlers. As the demand for hunting whitetail deer continues to grow, so does the pressure for game ranges in Texas to provide mature and healthy bucks with trophy antlers. Therefore, game ranges must continue to focus on good water sources, quality nutrition, and adequate cover for the whitetail deer to prosper. 

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