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Rain=Antler Growth


Bear55

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Over the years I have noticed the deer in our area (Northern Bigwoods) grow larger racks from one year to the next. When I looked back on those years It seems we have had more rain than usual. I think I have come across a couple of articles saying the same things but I wasn't able to find any on a quick search on the net. Its fairly simple I think, more rain = more young growth = more nutrition for the deer = bigger more healthier deer with larger racks.

I most years the 1.5 year old buck in our area sport small 3-6 inch spikes or forks. Older more mature deer usually have a nice spread and beams but their tines are usually fairly short, maybe 2-5 inches, some deer in the prime still grow very large racks. During the wet year the younger bucks can sport spikes and forks 7-10 inches in length while more mature deer grow that extra tine length, maybe 6-10 inches depending on the age.

It seems we have had a fairly wet June, and just this morning I stumbled upon two young bucks who had some decent growth for this time of year, a fork with 6-7 inch beams and a spike that was in the 4-5 inch range, with another month and half of antler growth those little guys could have some larger than normal head gear this fall.

So has anyone else noticed this happening during wet spring/summers and can we maybe expect some larger than normal rack this fall? I certainly hope so.

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This makes sense if you think about plant growth and palatability of the forage. Plants will withhold new growth in dry conditions and deer nutrition will suffer.

I'm sure its not quite that simple in reality but an interesting observation.

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I read an article about the exact same thing in one of the magazines I get a couple months ago. They came to the same conclusion too more rain= more green growth= better nutrition= bigger racks. I never really even thought of that until I read that article but I guess it makes sense.

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i don't know how much this would affect deer in mn. i would say we usually have adequate moisture, but if it was abnormally dry, then i'd think you'd see a decline in average antler size.

this would make a lot more sense in places that are usually dry, then receive excess amounts of moisture during the growing season. texas and other plains states come to mind.

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i don't know how much this would affect deer in mn. i would say we usually have adequate moisture, but if it was abnormally dry, then i'd think you'd see a decline in average antler size.

this would make a lot more sense in places that are usually dry, then receive excess amounts of moisture during the growing season. texas and other plains states come to mind.

B Amish you could be right and there are many other variables that go into growing a rack. However I'm not sure its accurate to say less rain can affect antler growth but more rain won't change anything. Most years yes we do get a good amount of rain but would more rain lead to more nutritious food for the deer to eat? Are there any farmers out there who might have a solid answer for us?

From what I have seen in the past rain fall does affect antler growth. Otherwise I'd have a hard time explaining why some years all the deer in a given area are growing larger than normal racks. Everyone keep their eyes peeled this fall and jump back to this post if you think the deer are having a better than average year rack wise.

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One other very important thing I forgot to mention is the deer health coming out of the winter. If we have had an easy winter we might also see better horn growth. After a hard winter the deer put all of their energy into their body, once their body is up to par they then begin to grow their antlers.

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i have a hard time thinking adequate rain makes racks bigger. after last years drought, many taxidermists will tell you that they got more bigger racks than years past. unless its a dust bowl, i don't think it will affect their racks.

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I don't doubt that mature bucks can still grow impressive racks with average or less then average rainfall, however could they have added even more bone with more rain? I think its certainly possible.

Here is an interesting article on this subject.

http://www.whitetailinstitute.com/info/news/jun04/4.html

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