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trphyhntr

Do antlers dry out and shrink as the year goes on?

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I would say no there vanes are still in tacked, as soon as they heart stops they start shrinking, or when they drop them, some nature thing.

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They don't shrink. That is why is there a 60 day drying out period for "official" scores after harvest.

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I'm not sure if they shrink while still attached, but I can tell you I picked up a mule deer brownie in April that measured 79.5" the day I picked it up, I rescored it about a month ago and it was 76" even.

 

I don't think anyone has ever studied/bothered to check for shrinkage while they are still attached (would probably be difficult), but from real life experience I have taken bucks post-rut that did have antlers that had begun to show hairline cracks and what almost appears to be "peeling" on the surface. In my opinion It would only make sense that once the antler stops the growing stage and is calcified during the hardening process and the velvet is stripped that they would "die" and continuously shrink "forever" after that point.

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Antlers are true bone, one of the fastest growing bones ever documented. They continue to grow until an increase in circulating testosterone halts the growth. Many of the blood vessels are in the soft covering ("velvet") which is rubbed off when blood circulating to the antlers ceases. Information that I have seen from the Kerr WMA in Texas and work at Mississippi State University indicates that there is very little shrinkage after the velvet is shed until the end of the rut, when testosterone levels plummet and the antlers are dropped. Once the antlers are shed, there is some shrinkage as they dry out and that is why most trophy outfits have a 60-90 day "drying" period before measurements are accepted. In dry climates like ours, there is certainly some additional loss of moisture which causes sheds or harvested antlers to continue to slowly shrink a bit over time.

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Antlers are true bone, one of the fastest growing bones ever documented. They continue to grow until an increase in circulating testosterone halts the growth. Many of the blood vessels are in the soft covering ("velvet") which is rubbed off when blood circulating to the antlers ceases. Information that I have seen from the Kerr WMA in Texas and work at Mississippi State University indicates that there is very little shrinkage after the velvet is shed until the end of the rut, when testosterone levels plummet and the antlers are dropped. Once the antlers are shed, there is some shrinkage as they dry out and that is why most trophy outfits have a 60-90 day "drying" period before measurements are accepted. In dry climates like ours, there is certainly some additional loss of moisture which causes sheds or harvested antlers to continue to slowly shrink a bit over time.

So there are veins/blood flow in the antlers, even after the velvet is stripped?

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Antlers are true bone, one of the fastest growing bones ever documented. They continue to grow until an increase in circulating testosterone halts the growth. Many of the blood vessels are in the soft covering ("velvet") which is rubbed off when blood circulating to the antlers ceases. Information that I have seen from the Kerr WMA in Texas and work at Mississippi State University indicates that there is very little shrinkage after the velvet is shed until the end of the rut, when testosterone levels plummet and the antlers are dropped. Once the antlers are shed, there is some shrinkage as they dry out and that is why most trophy outfits have a 60-90 day "drying" period before measurements are accepted. In dry climates like ours, there is certainly some additional loss of moisture which causes sheds or harvested antlers to continue to slowly shrink a bit over time.

So there are veins/blood flow in the antlers, even after the velvet is stripped?

 

The blood flow slows dramatically and gradually declines to zero internally, when the antlers harden. When they are dropped, the pedicels (the points on the head from which they grow) still has blood and they look and act like flesh wounds, scabbing over and then being replaced by regrowth of the skin until the next antler cycle begins.

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Antlers are true bone, one of the fastest growing bones ever documented. They continue to grow until an increase in circulating testosterone halts the growth. Many of the blood vessels are in the soft covering ("velvet") which is rubbed off when blood circulating to the antlers ceases. Information that I have seen from the Kerr WMA in Texas and work at Mississippi State University indicates that there is very little shrinkage after the velvet is shed until the end of the rut, when testosterone levels plummet and the antlers are dropped. Once the antlers are shed, there is some shrinkage as they dry out and that is why most trophy outfits have a 60-90 day "drying" period before measurements are accepted. In dry climates like ours, there is certainly some additional loss of moisture which causes sheds or harvested antlers to continue to slowly shrink a bit over time.

So there are veins/blood flow in the antlers, even after the velvet is stripped?

 

The blood flow slows dramatically and gradually declines to zero internally, when the antlers harden. When they are dropped, the pedicels (the points on the head from which they grow) still has blood and they look and act like flesh wounds, scabbing over and then being replaced by regrowth of the skin until the next antler cycle begins.

 

Gotcha. So if there's no flow, what keeps the antlers "moist" when they are still attached? i.e., why wouldn't they dry out on the animal (back to trphyhntr's initial question)?

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I think for scoring purposes, the main thing that happens is the skull cap dries up which causes the spread to decrease, more so than antlers shrinking.

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I think for scoring purposes, the main thing that happens is the skull cap dries up which causes the spread to decrease, more so than antlers shrinking.

I agree with this. Although I have held tangible proof in my hands that the antlers themselves do in fact shrink. The shrinkage occurs mostly at the mass measurements from what I have seen. I do think that once the velvet is peeled, the antlers shrink continuously, they're literally text book bones and when a bone becomes exposed to the elements it shrinks and cracks over time.

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I think for scoring purposes, the main thing that happens is the skull cap dries up which causes the spread to decrease, more so than antlers shrinking.

I agree with this. Although I have held tangible proof in my hands that the antlers themselves do in fact shrink. The shrinkage occurs mostly at the mass measurements from what I have seen. I do think that once the velvet is peeled, the antlers shrink continuously, they're literally text book bones and when a bone becomes exposed to the elements it shrinks and cracks over time.

 

But isn't the bone exposed as soon as velvet is stripped? I do agree that the skull cap shrinks, but there is shrinking of actual bone happening as well.

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The vast majority of the shrinkage is in the mass measurements. Typically the first two mass measurements will loose the most. Tine length and mainbeams are really not affected. Spread also doesn't change much. One animal that has a huge shrink factor is antelope. The shrink quite a bit in a very short period of time. Deer and elk shrink very little.

 

Go kill a monster........in 60 days it will still be a monster!!!!!!

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