If a male deer sheds his antlers... | Almanac.com

If a male deer sheds his antlers...

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If a male deer sheds his antlers every year, why don’t we find more antlers when we go into the woods?
Male deer begin to shed their antlers once breeding season is over and they no longer need to contest with each other over mates. Antlers usually drop in winter, sometimes in early spring in warmer climates. Occasionally, a deer may drop their antlers earlier because of poor health, scarce food, or other reasons. Fallen autumn leaves, snow, or growing grasses and other vegetation in spring may help to camouflage the shed antlers, sometimes making them hard to distinguish from fallen branches.

Once the antlers fall to the ground, they are fair game for wild animals, from squirrels and opossums to coyotes and bears, who will chew on discarded antlers as a source of calcium, phosphorus, protein, and other nutrients.

To search for shed antlers, look for areas where male deer usually bed or feed during shedding season; follow deer trails, and look for obstacles such as fallen branches, rocks, brush, etc., that may help a deer to shed its antlers. Obstacles, such as streams or fences, that deer need to jump over to cross, can also be places where you might find antlers; the act of jumping sometimes helps to loosen the antlers that are in the process of shedding.