Buck meets barber-wire fence, velvet loses
Photographer films whitetail buck shedding velvet with the help of a barbed-wire fence
Photographer/videographer Rick Small caught this buck shedding his velvet -- with the help of a barbed-wire fence -- in mid-September in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Every year, a whitetail buck's antlers harden because of the change in the length of daylight, the photoperiod. When this happens, the blood supply to the velvet is cut off, thus starting the process of velvet shedding.
As the velvet cracks and splits it starts to bother or aggravate the bucks in such a way that they find whatever means they have at their disposal to rid their antlers of the velvet, i.e. weeds, bushes, briars, tree limbs – and in this case a good ol' barbed wire fence! Also, after the velvet is shed, the buck will eat every piece of velvet he can get to his mouth.
Not many people get to witness a buck in the process of velvet shedding (and chewing on the velvet), so I pieced together several clips from videos from a recent experience into one, to show you how a buck goes about shedding/ripping the velvet off his rack. In every case of velvet shedding I have seen, it takes less than a day for a buck to rid his antlers of most, if not all, of the velvet.
I have heard of velvet shedding taking place in two hours, more or less. This buck's velvet had already started to peel down the points on his rack when I found him at daylight that morning. By the time he gave me the slip – after I had spent a couple of hours watching the process – there were only remnants of the velvet left.
This video was filmed in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park on the morning of Sept.13, 2013.
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