Deer Hunting

Deer Shedding Velvet

Deer are fascinating creatures. They are gentle and mild-mannered but also have a wild side. deer that live in the wild will lose their velvet antlers each year as part of the natural mating process. While this shedding of velvet can be a sight to behold, it is also an important step in the life of a deer. In this blog post, we will discuss what happens during deer shedding velvet and why it is such an important process.

What is Deer Velvet?

Deer velvet is a deer’s growing antlers, which are covered in soft skin called velvet. As deer grow and develop their antlers, they shed this supportive skin to reveal the solid bone structure underneath. While deer may lose their velvet at any time of year, many deer will shed it during the spring or summer months to prepare for mating season.

As deer antlers are made up of hard bone and tissue, deer velvet contains various nutrients that can benefit overall health and well-being. For example, deer velvet is rich in proteins that help build muscle mass and promote recovery after exercise, as well as amino acids that support healthy brain function. Additionally, deer velvet contains minerals like zinc and calcium that promote strong bones and teeth, as well as vitamins like vitamin A, which is essential for healthy skin and vision.

What is Deer Velvet Shedding?

Deer velvet shedding is a natural process that deer undergo each year as they prepare for the upcoming breeding season. During this time, deer lose their soft, velvety fur and grow in their coarse new coats. This process typically begins in late summer or early fall, and may last anywhere from 2-4 weeks depending on the deer’s individual cycle.

While deer velvet shedding may seem like a strange and unsettling process, it is actually an important part of deer’s overall health and reproductive fitness. By shedding their velvet coats, deer are able to grow stronger, healthier antlers that will be better equipped to compete during the mating season. Additionally, deer with large antlers are less likely to suffer from injuries related to fighting over mates, providing an important benefit to deer populations as a whole.

What Causes Deer To Shed Their Velvet?

The main cause of deer shedding their velvet is the changing seasons – as summer turns to fall, the days begin to grow shorter and the temperature starts to drop. This shift in environmental conditions causes deer to start preparing for the mating season, which triggers a hormonal change that leads to the shedding of velvet. Other factors that may contribute to deer shedding velvet include stress, injury, or illness. Regardless of the cause, deer will typically shed their velvet over the course of several weeks, so it’s important to be vigilant and watch for signs of this process taking place.

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How Do You Know When A Deer Is Shedding Its velvet?

You’ll typically be able to see it happening on the deer’s antlers. The process of shedding velvet usually takes place over the course of a few weeks, and you’ll notice that the deer’s antlers will gradually start to turn from a reddish-brown color to a more whitish color. Once the shedding process is complete, the deer’s antlers will be covered in a hard, bone-like material.

What Are The Signs That a Deer Has Shed Its Velvet Successfully And Is Ready To Mate?

There are a few key signs that you can look for to determine if a deer has successfully shed its velvet. One is the deer’s behavior – during the mating season, bucks will start to become more aggressive and territorial. You may also notice that the deer’s coat starts to change color, appearing more rufous (a reddish-brown coloration). Additionally, the deer’s antlers will be completely hard and bone-like in appearance. All of these changes signal that the deer is ready to mate.

Does The Shedding Of Velvet Cause Any Danger To Deer?

deer shedding velvet is a process that deer go through every year as they undergo significant growth spurts. During this time, deer antlers are extremely vulnerable to injury and infection, as the deer are still growing new bone tissue and blood vessels in their antlers. To protect themselves during this period, deer typically begin shedding their velvet early in the summer months. While the shedding of velvet does pose some risks for deer, it is generally a normal part of their development and allows them to continue growing without being at risk of damage or infection. If you see deer starting to shed their velvet, it is best to give them plenty of space and avoid disturbing them as much as possible during this vulnerable time. With proper care and attention, deer can successfully shed their velvet and continue growing into healthy adult deer.

Natural Factors For Velvet To Grow?

Deer Antler Size:

As a deer’s antlers grow, the blood vessels in the tips of the antlers gradually close off. This process is what gives rise to the hard, bony material that comprises a deer’s antlers.

Deer Age:

A deer’s age can affect velvet growth. Younger deer tend to have thinner, less dense velvet compared to older deer.

Deer Health:

A deer’s overall health status can also play a role in how well its velvet grows. If a deer is sick or undernourished, it may experience weaker growth for the velvet on its antlers.

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Deer Nutrition:

A deer’s diet can also impact how quickly and effectively its velvet grows. For example, deer that are fed a high-protein diet tend to have stronger, denser velvet compared to deer who are not as well nourished.


In order for deer to grow healthy and strong velvet, they need access to appropriate habitats with sufficient food and adequate cover. This means that deer living in areas experiencing harsh climate conditions or low-quality vegetation will likely experience weaker velveting growth than deer living in more favorable conditions.


The timing of when deer shed their antlers can also affect how successfully they grow their velvet. Deer who shed their velvet earlier in the year tend to have weaker, less dense velvet compared to deer who wait until later in the season.

Let There Be Light:

Light is an essential component in the development of velvet antlers. Exposure to bright light stimulates deer to produce melatonin, which activates thyroid function and regulates follicular activity. This results in healthy cycles of antler growth and shedding. In addition, deer exposed to sufficient light will experience shorter phases of rest during their annual cycle, which leads to higher levels of testosterone production. This increase in testosterone helps fuel the process of antler growth on deer’s heads, resulting in thicker and more robust velvet coverage.

Hungry Stag:

Deer need a high-quality diet to support the growth of thick and healthy velvet. A lack of nutrients can lead to thinner, weaker antlers that are more susceptible to injury. In particular, deer need plenty of phosphorus, calcium, and vitamin A to promote strong antler growth. Phosphorus and calcium help form the bone structure of the antlers, while vitamin A is essential for cell development and regeneration.

Water for Life:

Water is another important factor in deer antler growth. Not only does it keep deer hydrated, but it also helps transport nutrients throughout the body. This is essential for promoting healthy cell growth and regeneration, both of which are necessary for strong antlers.

Ideal Temperatures:

Temperature also plays a role in deer antler growth. deer are most active and have the highest testosterone levels when temperatures are between 50-60 degrees Fahrenheit. This is the ideal temperature range for antler growth. However, deer can still grow strong antlers at lower or higher temperatures, as long as they have access to adequate food and water.

Perfect Balance:

All of these factors must be in balance for deer to produce thick, healthy velvet. If any one of these elements is lacking, it can lead to thinner, weaker antlers. For example, if a deer does not have enough phosphorus in its diet, it will likely have smaller antlers with less bone density. Similarly, if a deer does not have access to adequate water, it will experience slower growth and slower recovery during the annual shedding process.

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What Are The Consequences Of Deer Not Shedding Their Velvet?

If deer do not shed their velvet in a timely manner, it can lead to a number of problems. For one, the deer may have difficulty feeding properly if their antlers are too large and unwieldy. Additionally, the velvet can begin to deteriorate and fall off in patches, leading to an unsightly appearance. In extreme cases, deer may even develop infections under their velvet if it is not shed in a timely and efficient manner.

What Do I Need To Do If My Deer Is Shedding Velvet?

If you deer is shedding velvet, there is no need for concern. This is a normal part of the deer lifecycle and does not require any intervention on your part. However, you should avoid handling or disturbing deer during this time, as they may be more susceptible to stress and injury.

Why Do Deer Shed Their Velvet?

There are a number of factors that may influence deer shedding velvet, including changes in hormone levels, fluctuations in temperature and moisture levels, and increased stressors such as disease or injury. Ultimately, however, deer shedding velvet is an important part of preparing for the rigors of mating season and ensuring reproductive success.

Do All Deer Shed Their Velvet?

No, not all deer shed their velvet. In some cases, deer may retain their velvet throughout the year if they live in an environment that does not experience drastic changes in temperature or moisture levels. Additionally, some deer may shed their velvet prematurely due to stressors such as disease or injury.


Deer velvet antler is a popular supplement used by many people to improve overall health and well-being. The process of shedding the velvet can be an interesting time for deer, as they are preparing for the next growth stage of their lives. Professional hunters and farmers who care for deer should be aware of when the velvet is shed, so that they can properly care for the deer during this time.

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