When Do Antlers Stop Growing?
This time of year I receive a lot of questions about when antlers stop growing. Folks are eagerly checking their trail cameras. They want to know if the bucks will keep adding inches until the velvet is shed or if the rack is as big as it will get.
Like humans, bucks are all unique individuals and as such their bodies and antlers grow at different rates. However, they generally follow the same growth patterns.
During June and July a buck’s velvet covered antlers have a tremendous system of blood vessels. There is so much blood carrying protein and minerals to a buck’s antlers this time of year that even small (yearling) antlers are easily detected by thermal imaging devices.
Individual antler tines show up like neon signs when flying over with thermal triggered cameras during this time of year. During early August most bucks switch from adding new growth to their antlers to adding minerals to their antlers. Antlers begin changing from being soft and somewhat pliable to hardened antlers.
Often during early August a buck’s antlers will change from looking swollen or bulbous at the tips of the tines to a more normal diameter. Once this change in appearance occurs don’t expect the buck to add much growth to beam or tine length.
By early to mid August it’s likely most bucks have experienced most of their antler growth for the year.
Growing Deer together,
Dr. Grant Woods was raised and began his love of white-tailed deer as a bow hunter in the Ozark Mountains of Missouri.