Whitetail Deer With Ticks On Antlers

June 26, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

I have always wondered if ticks can cause problems in reference to the growth of Whitetail Deer antlers. The soft growing antler is covered with hairy skin, called "velvet". When antlers are in the velvet stage they are full of blood vessels, cartilage and nervous tissue. If you look close at the photo you can see some damage to the velvet on the Bucks right antler.

I have read that botfly larvae will cause damage to antlers and that if you see a hole in a Bucks antler it may have been caused by the botfly.

You can also see that this Buck it has a horsefly between its eyes. 

I photographed this Whitetail Buck at the Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge in Oklahoma a few days ago.

Whitetail Buck With Ticks On Velvet AntlersWhitetail Buck With Ticks On Velvet AntlersWhitetail Buck at the Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge in Oklahoma

More Photos of this Buck: Whitetail Buck (Full Body) - Whitetail Buck (Tounge Out)

Antler Facts

  • Each antler grows from an attachment point on the skull called a pedicle. While an antler is growing, it is covered with highly vascular skin called velvet, which supplies oxygen and nutrients to the growing bone.
  • Growth occurs at the tip, and is initially cartilage, which is later replaced by bone tissue.
  • Once the antler has achieved its full size, the velvet is lost and the antler's bone dies. This dead bone structure is the mature antler.

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