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Deer antler cycles

Deer antler cycles

The five British deer species which carry antlers replace them every year.

Antlers are dropped, or cast, and grow back over a period of months while covered in a furry skin called velvet. When growth is complete the velvet is rubbed off and the antler is described as clean. Older animals tend to cast and clean their antlers first.

The photo below shows a cast fallow alongside another not yet cast. 

Deer antler cycles

The table below is a general guide to the timing of this process though it is difficult to be precise.

  Antlers cast       Antlers in velvet   Antlers clean
Red stags   Mar - May  May - Aug    Sep - Mar
Sika stags   Mar - May      May - Aug     Sep - Mar
Fallow bucks Apr - May   May - Aug  Sep - Apr
Roe bucks       Nov - Dec      Jan - Mar Apr - Nov
Muntjac bucks*   Apr - Jun     May - Aug  Sep - Apr

* As muntjac can breed all year round, you may see immature bucks in velvet or bearing clean antlers outside these dates.

The video below is a photo record of a red stags antler growth taken by our Deer Officer Glyn Ingram.