Deer Antlers FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

This page is an on-going effort to answer all of the most frequently asked questions regarding deer antlers. We get loads of emails from visitors asking us specific questions about deer antlers. While we do our best to respond to each email individually, sometimes it's too much for us to handle. Here we're going to post the answers to questions sent to us from visitors related to deer antlers. If there are any that we were unable to cover, please feel free to contact us.

What are Deer Antlers Made of?

Antlers are made of hardened bone when they're fully developed. During the regrowth process, antlers are softer (pre-calcified) and covered in a layer of velvety tissue used to supply blood and nutrients to them. This velvetly layer begins to fall off or is scratched off by the deer once the antlers have hardened.

Do Only Male Deer Have Antlers?

In every species of deer except caribou, only males grow antlers. Both male and female caribou (aka reindeer) have antlers which they use to forage food underneath the thick snow-covered ground. If females didn't posses antlers, they would be at risk for starvation without the ability to find food as easily. Also, rare genetic abnormalities may cause a female deer to grow antlers.

What Species of Deer Have The Largest Antlers?

The moose is the deer species which is known to grow the largest and most complex set of antlers. Unlike other species, moost antlers are actually webbed to amplify sounds, allowing them to hear potential predators at distances of over a mile. After the moose, caribou are the deer species which grow the second largest antlers.

When Do Deer Shed Their Antlers?

The time of year when deer shed their antlers varies depending on a number of different factors, however in most parts of the U.S., this occurs somewhere around late winter to early spring. Stress, lack of food and mating conditions can all affect when a deer sheds their antlers.

What Can I Use Deer Antlers For?

Deer antlers can used in countless different crafts, activites and projects. If you have a knack for building unique items, perhaps you should take a shot at crafting a deer antler lamp. Some other items you can make with deer antlers are pens, knife handles, chandeliers, picture frames and letter openers just to name a few.

Why Do Deer Have Antlers?

Male deer have antlers for a number of reasons, one of which is to battle other male deer with during the mating season (rut). When 2 male deer want to fight for the mating rights of a nearby doe, they will ram into one another with their antlers first until one of them backs down. This type of sparring can go on for hours, sometimes producing serious injury. After the rut is over they no longer need to battle other male deer, they will shed their antlers until spring time.

Are Deer Antlers Safe For Dogs?

Absolutely! Deer antlers are a completely safe and natural product that dogs can chew on and ultimately eat. You may not realize it, but antlers contain loads of calcium and vitamins, all of which are beneficial for a dog's health. Just be sure to watch over your dog as they enjoy their treat to ensure they don't get any pieces caught in their throat.

Why Do Deer Rub Their Antlers on Trees?

Deer rub their antlers on  trees to either to remove the velvet like tissue covering them or to challenge other bucks in the area. When a buck rubs his antlers on a tree, it releases an oil that leaves a distinct odor and signals their desire to spar with other bucks. During the rut, it is common for bucks to challenge one another in hopes of winning mating rights to nearby doe.