Antlered doe in late July at Lake Thunderbird. Photo by L. Dillon
Have you ever noticed that Oklahoma deer regulations don’t specify harvest of ‘bucks only’, but rather refer to ‘antlered deer’? That’s because some does have antlers. I first saw the antlered doe in the photo in 2009. I’ve photographed her many times since. I’ll be honest, I saw her several times and skipped over taking photos of her because I thought she was an inferior buck. Duh.
Understanding antler development helps explain why some does develop antlers. Whitetail antlers grow from buttons on the skull called pedicels. In spring, usually mid-March to April antlers begin to sprout from a combination of a surge of testosterone, the hormone prolactin and interaction with an increased amount of sunlight. Initially they aren’t hard and polished, but contain a lot of blood vessels and are covered with a hairy velvet. Most doe…
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