Facts About Buck Horns: Everything You Need to Know

Buck horns are a common sight in the animal kingdom. They are unique, impressive, and serve different purposes depending on the animal. In this article, we’ll delve into the world of buck horns and explore everything you need to know about them.

What are buck horns?

Buck horns are bony, branched structures that grow from the heads of male deer. They are also called antlers and can be found in many different species of deer, including the white-tailed deer, mule deer, and elk. Antlers are not permanent structures and grow and shed each year.

Facts about buck horns

  • Buck horns are made of bone and are shed and regrown every year.
  • Antlers are different from horns because they are branched and have a velvety covering when they are growing.
  • Male deer use their antlers for fighting during the mating season.
  • Not all male deer have antlers. Exceptions include castrated deer and some species that naturally lack antlers.
  • Antlers shed between late fall and early winter, and the process takes about two to three weeks.
  • The age of a deer can be estimated by examining the size, shape, and configuration of its antlers.
  • Abnormal antler growth can be caused by genetic factors, poor nutrition, and physical injuries.
  • Buck horns have been used for decorative, practical, and cultural purposes throughout history.
  • Different types of buck horns include typical antlers, non-typical antlers, and palmated antlers.
  • Buck horns have held symbolic significance throughout history, representing everything from masculinity and strength to the cycle of life and death.

How do they grow?

Antlers grow from a base called the pedicle. In the spring, the pedicle forms a fuzzy layer of skin called velvet, which supplies blood and nutrients to the growing antler. The antler grows rapidly and can add up to an inch of bone each day. By the end of the summer, the antler is fully grown, and the velvet dries up and falls off.

Why do bucks have antlers?

Antlers are primarily used for male-male competition during the breeding season. Bucks use their antlers to spar with other males to establish dominance and win the right to mate with females.

How long do they live?

The lifespan of a buck depends on the species, but on average, they can live up to 6-8 years.

How do they shed their antlers?

After the breeding season, the antlers lose their velvet and harden. Then, a layer of tissue forms between the antler and the pedicle, cutting off blood supply to the antler. Eventually, the tissue dissolves, and the antler falls off.

What are the differences between antlers and horns?

Antlers are shed and regrown each year and are made of bone, while horns are permanent structures made of keratin, the same material as our fingernails. Horns do not branch, and they do not have a velvet covering like antlers.

What are the benefits of antlers for deer?

Antlers can provide deer with a competitive advantage during the breeding season. The larger the antlers, the more likely a buck is to win mating rights. Additionally, antlers can also be used for defense against predators.

Do all deer have antlers?

No, not all deer have antlers. Only male deer (bucks) grow antlers, while female deer (does) do not.

How do antlers affect mating?

Bucks with larger and more impressive antlers are more likely to win mating rights with females. The size of the antlers is an indication of the buck’s strength, health, and dominance, making him a more attractive mate. Antlers also serve as a visual cue to other males to avoid confrontation and save energy.

What is the world record for the largest set of antlers?

The world record for the largest set of antlers belongs to a non-typical white-tailed deer from Saskatchewan, Canada, which scored 333 7/8 inches in 2019.