Antlers are the first thing most hunters think of when it comes to deer. For decades, hunters have gone out into the wilderness to hunt deer. The majority of them love the venison they will bring home after a successful hunt. However, as the sport of deer hunting has grown over the years, and deer populations are thriving, more hunters are being driven by an opportunity to bring home a buck they can put in the record books. Man caves across the country are featuring big bucks on their walls as trophies of the sport they love. Serious hunters go as far as managing parcels of land with the specific goal of growing big bucks, with big antlers. It has become an obsession by many in more ways than one.
The obsession doesn’t stop when hunting season is over either. Once the season closes, many hunters keep trail cameras out and wait to see when the bucks on their property have shed their antlers. Shed hunting has become a sport of its own. If a hunter has missed out on a big buck he knew was on his property during deer season, it can be a painful experience. All of the effort and time some use to hunt a specific deer can be heartbreaking at the end of the season if unable to bring him home. So the next best thing is to go out and hopefully find that deers antlers once they’ve dropped. The antlers become a trophy themselves, and most hunters will be ecstatic when they find them. Another reason that hunters look for sheds is to get a good idea of the age and size of deer on their property. This comes back to deer management. By collecting the sheds, they will have an idea of how many bucks are on the property, and which of them will be mature enough the following year to put on the “hit list”.
There are other reason for collecting shed antlers that don’t just attract hunters. Many people like to give them to their dogs to chew on. We all know that dogs love to chew on stuff. Sticks, raw hides, bones. The problem with most of those things is they don’t last very long. Deer antlers on the other hand, last much longer than the conventional chew toys. It may take a dog over a year to diminish a deer antler. Another use for antlers is to sell. The price of deer antlers has been steadily rising and you could say, have become a hot commodity. People buy antlers to make knives and silverware with, to cut up and sell as dog bones, or even to make things like lamps, and chandeliers. I’ve seen sets of antlers go for hundreds of dollars online.
Overall, there are many uses for deer antlers. They are wonderful trophies and are a key part of any deer management plan. Deer antlers are also great chew toys for dogs, and make a number of other decorative household items. It’s no wonder that deer antlers are a hunter’s best friend.
Jeff Stevens is a writer for the hunting and fishing site Hunter’s Guide. He loves to hunt, fish, and experience all things outdoors. Jeff recently wrote an article about Deer antler growth.