"Doc" and "Meatball" give us a day-by-day look at the changes that occur during the antler growth stages of whitetail deer.
Most of us have probably set up our trail cameras early enough in the year to get a look at some of the bucks in velvet. If you're like most hunters, you might get a handful of photographs that chronicle the growth of a buck's antlers over the course of a summer. But it's not too often we get to see the antler growth from start to finish in any amount of excruciating detail.
Thanks to the folks at MSU Deer Lab, now we can with these videos that chronicle the month-by-month growing process in excellent detail.
The first video is Doc, and he turns into a very impressive-looking buck with a huge drop tine. He has two during the growing process, but he snaps one off as the velvet gets closer to shedding.
Next is Meatball, and though his final rack isn't quite as impressive as Doc's, he still grows a nice set of antlers. It's interesting to see how the antlers take shape as the summer wears on.
Meatball only took 170 days for his antler growth stage to be complete, but Doc went a little longer, taking 209 days. Antler growth is going to vary based on a variety of factors, one of the biggest simply being nutrition. The better food sources the buck has, the larger and more impressive his antlers are likely to grow. That's why so many hunters spend so much time and energy working on food plots during the hot summer months. In areas that don't have great nutrition naturally, one can improve the quality of the deer simply by creating a new food source.