Saturday, September 04, 2010

Velvet Shedding



As summer winds down the whitetail's antlers harden into the weapons with which they will do battle in the never ending evolutionary cycle of survival of the fittest.  The soft blood vessel laden tissue that carried minerals to build the antlers now cracks, dries, and peels away.  Sometimes shedding is a rapid process where a buck will strip the velvet away overnight while at other times the buck may carry shreds of velvet for a few days.


This buck apparently was bothered some by the shedding process as I observed him scratching at his antler pedicels a number of time over the space of a couple of hours.

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14 comments:

Montanagirl said...

Amazing photos! Shedding the velvet is quite a process.

Nikki-ann said...

Oh, that looks painful!

Eds said...

Oh my what happened to his horns? looks painful! Urgh!

Mine is here : Beauty of Nature

Misty Dawn said...

Outstanding captures! I'm really lovin' your header photo too!

cat said...

Fantastic captures!

Adrienne in Ohio said...

I wonder if it hurts. It seems like it would at least be uncomfortable.

jo©o said...

So sad to read your previous post. Mindless killing like that is hard to understand. And then not even bothering to check up on the outcome or at least use the carcass for leather or meat.
Deer may eat all my rosebuds, but I wouldn't wish this fate on them.

The skin tones of your pictures is beautiful. As are the eyes. Which camera/lens did you use for these?

(mostly-macro)

Robin said...

Lovely shots! I never get tired of seeing Whitetails. They are so graceful

Elaine said...

Beautiful shots! Your amazing patience has again paid off with wonderful photos.

Paul in Powell River said...

Nice catch!

Gretchen said...

So gorgeous! When I can't get out, this is where I end up and can pretend I'm seeing everything with you. :)

Meggie said...

Great new header photo, Coy! Shedding velvet looks painful, do you think it is?

Coy said...

A number of you have commented that velvet shedding looks as if it is a painful process. It is a bloody process but from my observations I don't believe that it's painful.

As the velvet begins to dry out cracks form and some limited bleeding occurs while the bucks seem less protective of their antlers and begin sparring. Itching does seem to be associated with shedding as bucks can be observed scratching their pedicels frequently at this stage.

Brad Myers said...

Coy, great photos, like I said to Willard it makes me want to make a quick trip south for a day to try and capture some of this. Is this the same three point he posted just a few days later, as more of the velvet is gone on this guy?