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Jonathan McGowan's Natural History Collections


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Home > My Natural History Collections > Roe Deer Antlers

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01501 viewsThis picture shows the growing antler of a roe buck about two weeks after it had shed the last ones. They are soft and sensitive as the growth is soft cartilage at first only hardening slowly from the base upwards as it grows but the whole antler is not hard until it has finished growing and the blood supply is cut off due to a block in hormone release. The vein rich velvet then dies and is scraped off by the buck revealing red fresh bone. It hardens even more and the reddish white turns brown and grey as the summer progresses. They are shed in late autumn. The roe ruts mainly in July or August.
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02203 viewsThis is a piece of broken off antler as it was growing. The velvet skin has been removed.
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02a201 viewsHere is a broken off antler from a vehicle collision. The antler has just been cleaned of velvet.
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03195 viewsA broken off antler piece by a car collision. This piece was still in velvet. Note the thick fur.
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04194 viewsA fully grown set just before the velvet shed. Roe need thick fur to prevent frost bite as that can and does damage the growing antlers. This animal was also a road killed buck.
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05198 viewsThe young buck starts to grow antlers as little knobs, at just a few months old.
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06211 viewsThese are also young bucks in their first year.
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07212 viewsDuring the second year the buck’s antlers are usually two tines or sometimes three but are still usually small.
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08216 viewsA selection of adult roe antlers naturally shed.
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09204 viewsA long beamed roe head with few pearls.
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10219 viewsFive small adult roe heads from acid heathland areas.
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11228 viewsThree mature Dorset buck heads. They were over four years of age. Dorset bucks have characteristic shaped antlers; they have long, low brow tines with few pearls (lyre shaped). The middle head is typical Dorset, and like the original shape of roe antlers before they supposedly went extinct. They are like the prehistoric roe. The left one is from chalk downland and the right one is from heathland.
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