As I travel with a truck and trailer full of antler I always hear the same thing every time.
“Did you kill all of those?”
This post is going to go into the life of an antler as it can be pretty interesting how it comes to be and I feel it is good for people to be educated as some people are not lucky enough to grow up in a family where this is a way of life.
Antlers are extensions of the skull grown by members of the deer family(wikipedia). When they grow they are covered in velvet and have blood pumping through them. Each year they grow bigger and bigger. Right before rutt the antler begins to harden and the animal starts to rub the velvet off creating the nice brown color we like to see. The animals then use the antlers to fight for their women. They break them fighting and gouging each other and sometimes it does result in death. As spring comes the males stop producing so much testosterone and in the process the antler is shed. Within a month the new antlers will begin growing in again and the process has started over. Most people don’t realize they are lost every year but its natural.
After the antlers have been shed the shed hunters go out and look for that brown gold. The lives of the animals can be hung in the balance if it was a harsh winter. Ethically, it is best if the shed hunters wait for the animals to leave the area so that they don’t get ran around and die. Lots of states are enlisting new laws to protect the animals in their fragile winter state.
Hope this helps answer any questions you may have about the antler process.