Now the tree rubbing and antler-polishing begin. Hang with me the upcoming weeks, they will bring big changes. Antlers harden, the velvet is shed, and bucks continue to rub their antlers (and forehead glands) on bushes and small trees as a means of scent communication known as signpost behavior. More September photos and comments coming. The annual casting and growth of new antlers is an important part of the whitetail's mystique. And their behavior will change. That’s typically when bucks lose their antler velvet, a soft, blood-rich tissue that covers growing antlers from late spring through summer. Velvet can be completely shed from a whitetail buck’s antlers within a day or two. Throughout this growing period, the buck’s rack is fairly soft and flexible, but it hardens to bone by late summer as the bucks’ testosterone levels start climbing. Deer lose their antlers every single year, but do you know why? Later, the deer will shed the velvet by rubbing its antlers against trees and shrubs. It seems around here that they shed velvet around September 3 or 4 (with some starting a week earlier). It’s one of the coolest times in the deer woods. It can take as little as 24-48 hours for the antlers to actually fall off, but the shedding process takes between two to three weeks and then new antlers will regenerate throughout the summer.. Velvet shedding typically takes only a couple of hours, though it is not uncommon to see a deer walking around for day or two with bloody velvet tatters. CONTINUED… GO TO Deer Scouting 2016. As days begin to get shorter, a buck’s testosterone level declines. Cryptorchids don’t rub or scrape as the rut approaches. More bucks will lose their velvet. Antlers grow rapidly from their pedicle (base) while in velvet during the spring and summer, as fast as 3/4 inch/week for yearlings and 1 1/2 inches per week for adults during peak growth (Jacobson and Griffin 1983). In fact, I’ve seen an older age class buck with no sign of shedding velvet that was sporting completely clean antlers within 22 hours! Most bucks shed their velvet between mid-August and mid-September. Their necks don’t swell and they don’t breed. A stag doesn’t shed his antlers; they remain in velvet year-round. Then — in late winter after the rut is over — bucks shed their antlers. Growth peaks in late August throughout most of the whitetail range. Reproductively, they are stuck in neutral. However, it can range over a week period or more, easily. Whitetails shed their antlers like many species in the deer family. I am excited that I finally got my cameras out so it is going to be interesting. One last thing you might not know: Bucks have been known to turn their heads and peel or even eat the dry velvet off their new racks. I am definitely excited. They lack the chemical stimulation to express dominance or individualism. 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