Richard Moore Outdoor Report: Fall Ritual

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RIO GRANDE VALLEY, Texas – It’s that time of year, when South Texas bucks are fighting the brush. This buck is battling a Huisache, aggressively raking his antlers in the thorny branches.

The buck isn’t really angry at the tree, he just wants to get rid of that pesky velvet, irritatingly dangling from his antlers, and scrapping his rack in the brush is usually the best way to accomplish the task.

However, when this doesn’t work to his satisfaction, he tries to lick the strand off and finally removes it with a deft motion from his hoof.

Every year from early September thru early October, South Texas whitetail bucks begin to shed the specialized skin called velvet that has encased their newly forming antlers.

As fall approaches, decreasing daylight triggers hormonal changes, which restricts blood flow to the growing antlers.  As the antlers being to harden, the velvet dries and the bucks begin rubbing their racks in the brush.

While the process may appear a little bloody, it is a time honored tradition and not painful to the deer.

Some bucks manage to scrape off their velvet in a matter of hours, while with others it may take a day or two to complete the process.

It is peak time for velvet shedding, and if you want to witness this remarkable ritual then now is the time to venture out into the wildlands.

It only happens once a year, but if you happen to be in the right place at just the right time, you might get to witness this fascinating behavior.

As late summer fades to fall and the winter rut commences, bucks will turn their attention from battling brush to fighting one another for does and dominance…and those newly hardened antlers may be wielded with deadly effect.

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