Ever wonder where all the antlers come from that are used to create the beautiful antler lamps and antler chandeliers you see on our site?
Each year across the United States millions of male deer, elk, caribou, reindeer and moose shed their antlers providing us with the beautiful antlers we use to create our unique antler furniture, antler lamps, antler chandeliers and other antler home décor items. This completely natural process takes place every spring. Many people agree that antler growth is one of the most amazing things in nature. But why does it happen?
Before deer can grow antlers, they first must develop pedicles. These are boney lumps on the skull under the skin that first develop on young fawns (baby deer). By the time male deer are 4-5 months old these pedicles are fairly well formed. These pedicles continue to grow and change as deer mature. Each year they increase in size and reduce in height until they eventually become concave, allowing for larger antlers to grow.
Once the pedicle is fully developed antler growth can begin and by the time a buck reaches his first birthday there is sufficient testosterone production to trigger the growth of antlers. Antler growth begins in March and April, at which time the antlers are covered in a soft membrane, or velvet. This layer of skin supplies the needed nutrients to aid in antler growth. These antlers grow rapidly for 2-4 months. However, during the early fall, as testosterone levels increase antler growth slows and the veins and arteries of the velvet begin to constrict cutting off the blood and nutrient supply to the antlers. Once this happens no further antler growth can occur and the velvet dries and begins to fall off.
After the fall mating season concludes bucks no longer need their antlers, as their primary purpose is to impress the females and fight other males competing for the doe’s attention. At this point the buck’s testosterone level drops dramatically causing the tissue supporting the antler to weaken, thereby allowing the antlers to fall off. Antlers that are firmly attached one day can weaken and fall off with 24-48 hours. So why shed them at all? It is important to know that the accelerated growth of antlers uses a substantial amount of energy which is better used to sustain the buck through the winter months when food sources are scarce.