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      Nature Report: Antler Growth

      As this buck emerges from the brush and cautiously moves out into the open, his massive antlers are in peak velvet.

      Every year whitetail deer shed their antlers in the spring and as increasing daylight triggers hormonal changes new ones begin to grow.

      The newly forming antlers are covered by a specialized skin called velvet both for its appearance and soft texture.

      The velvet is rich in blood vessels and the antlers are actually warm to the touch.

      The developing antlers draw substantial amounts from reserves in the blood and skeletal system, and growth can exceed half an inch per day. Antler growth in the deer family is perhaps the fastest growing tissue in any mammal.

      The swollen racks of whitetail deer look particularly impressive this time of year, but as fall approaches decreasing daylight triggers hormonal changes, which restricts blood flow to the developing antlers.

      The antlers then begin to harden and the bucks will start to shed their velvet. Beginning in mid September South Texas bucks will start shedding their velvet and their antlers may appear bloody for a short time as this annual ritual commences.

      Every antler is different, as each one is a specially designed work of nature. Their intriguing growth cycle and unique attributes create a fascinating aura of antler allure.

      Whether you are a hunter, photographer or simply enjoy viewing whitetail deer in the wild, this is a special time of year to be in the South Texas outdoors.