When Do Whitetail Deer Grow Their Antlers? Find Out the Fascinating Answer!

When Do Whitetail Deer Grow Their Antlers

Whitetail deer, known for their beautiful and impressive antlers, go through a fascinating growth process. But have you ever wondered when these magnificent antlers start to grow on these graceful animals? In this article, we will explore the timeline of antler development in whitetail deer.

Antler Growth Cycle

The antler growth cycle in whitetail deer can be broken down into specific stages. These stages define the various periods of antler development and shed throughout the year. Understanding these stages gives us insight into when deer begin growing their antlers.

1. Casting Phase:

Each year, whitetail deer go through a process called antler shedding. Typically occurring in late winter to early spring, the casting phase is when bucks shed their old antlers. This shedding allows new antlers to grow and replace the old ones.

2. Antler Growth Phase:

Following the casting phase, the growth phase begins. It’s during late spring and early summer that whitetail deer start growing their new set of antlers. The newly forming antlers are covered with a thin layer called velvet, which is rich in blood vessels and provides nourishment to support their growth.

The rapid growth of antlers is a spectacular sight to witness. During this time, bucks require a well-balanced diet rich in protein and minerals to support the development of their antlers.

3. Hardening Phase:

As summer progresses, the antlers reach their full size and enter the hardening phase. During this period, the antlers begin to ossify, which means they are gradually transforming into solid bone. The velvet covering the antlers starts to dry and peel off.

Bucks often rub their antlers against trees or shrubs to remove the remaining velvet, revealing the solid bone beneath. This rubbing behavior is known as “buck rubbing.”

4. Antler Maintenance Phase:

Once the velvet is fully removed, the antlers begin to calcify, or harden further. The antlers are now fully developed and ready for purposes like attracting mates and asserting dominance.

During the antler maintenance phase, bucks use their antlers for various activities. They may spar with other males to establish dominance in their territory or engage in rituals to attract females during the mating season.

5. Antler Shedding Phase:

After the breeding season, which typically occurs in the fall, the final phase of the antler growth cycle takes place. Bucks shed their antlers to prepare for the next year’s growth cycle. This shedding process allows them to conserve energy throughout the winter months.

The exact timing of antler shedding can vary between individuals. Factors such as age, genetics, and overall health can influence when a buck loses its antlers.

Frequently Asked Questions Of When Do Whitetail Deer Grow Their Antlers? Find Out The Fascinating Answer!

What Triggers Antler Growth In Whitetail Deer?

Antler growth in whitetail deer is triggered by a combination of hormonal changes, genetics, and nutrition.

At What Age Do Whitetail Deer Start Growing Antlers?

Whitetail deer begin growing antlers at around 1 year of age, but these antlers are usually small and unbranched.

How Long Does It Take For Whitetail Deer Antlers To Reach Full Size?

It takes approximately 3 to 4 months for whitetail deer antlers to reach their full size during the growth period.

Do All Whitetail Deer Grow Antlers?

No, only male whitetail deer, known as bucks, typically grow antlers. Female whitetail deer, called does, do not grow antlers.


In conclusion, the growth of antlers in whitetail deer follows a well-defined cycle. From shedding their old antlers to growing new ones, these majestic creatures experience a remarkable transformation year after year.

Understanding the different stages of antler growth can help hunters, wildlife enthusiasts, and nature lovers appreciate the beauty and significance of these magnificent appendages.

So, the next time you encounter a whitetail deer with its impressive antlers, take a moment to think about the incredible journey those antlers have gone through to become a symbol of strength and beauty.

Share This Article To Help Others: