Do Deer Bleed When They Shed Their Antlers?

Question: Do deer bleed when they shed their antlers?

Answer: Yes, when deer shed their antlers, they can experience bleeding, primarily in the velvet-covered areas. This natural occurrence is part of their life cycle and a remarkable aspect of deer biology. A pedicle, which is the base of the antler, connects it to the skull. The velvet-like, vascular tissue that covers the pedicle is soft and vascular. The velvet is the first part of the antler that a deer sheds. The pedicle is exposed when the velvet peels away, and this exposure may cause bleeding.

Each deer bleeds differently. The bleeding, however, normally goes away on its own and is very moderate. It is preferable to leave a deer alone and allow its wound heal naturally if you see it bleeding from its pedicle.

This yearly procedure causes no pain or discomfort for deer. Antler growth is supported by blood vessels and neurons in the velvet layer. Once the antlers mature, the velvet naturally dries and sheds. The deer’s healthy and painless antler development cycle includes shedding antlers when blood flow is insufficient.

There is no need to be frightened if you observe a deer bleeding from its pedicle. This happens often throughout the antler casting process.

Here are a few further significant facts with antler casting:

  • Antler casting typically unfolds during the winter or the early spring months,
  • Bucks are the first to lose their antlers, then does.
  • Typically, the antlers of older males shed more quickly than the antlers of younger bucks.
  • Deer will develop new antlers in the summer after losing their old ones.
  • Usually, the new set of antlers is bigger and more spectacular than the old pair.

Safety tips when encountering a deer with a bleeding pedicle

Safety TipsDetails
Do not approach the deerDeer are wild animals, and even an injured deer can be dangerous.
Do not try to touch the deer's woundThis could risk spreading infection or further injuring the deer.
Keep your dog away from the deerDogs can carry diseases that can be harmful to deer.
If the deer is bleeding heavilyContact your local wildlife authorities for assistance.

The fascinating process of casting antlers illustrates the incredible flexibility and toughness of deer in the wild.

James Ellis

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