By Mark Kenyon
I love summer. Not because of the beach, or the brats, the beer or the bikinis. I love summer because bucks are growing antlers, and to a whitetail addicted geek like me, that’s pretty exciting.
That said, I know I’m not alone. And for that reason, four years ago I posted a short article on Wired To Hunt that offered a brief description of the typical antler growth to be expected during each month of the summer. Since then, it’s been a very popular article, as people repeatedly are searching for information about how much antler growth a buck should have at certain times of year.
Given the consistent interest in the topic, I thought I’d revisit that timeline and expand on the information provided.
That said, along with the written descriptions of typical antler progress during each month, I’ve also included photos of a single buck over the course of last summer so that you can see his antler progress over the months. As many of you know, I’ve been hunting this buck I call Leaner for two seasons, and I have high hopes that he’ll be around this summer as well. Only time will tell. So without further adieu, the new and improved whitetail antler growth timeline, with illustrations!
April: By the end of April brow tines and 1-2 inches of additional antler growth should be visible on most deer
May: Look for visible G2′s and antler beams should be at about half their final length
June: Antler growth should increase dramatically this month, so look for all the main points on the antler to be growing by the middle to end of the month. If a buck is mature, look for a substantial frame at this time of year. I’ve seen deer sporting racks that could probably already score in the 120’s by early to mid June. That said, every deer is different. I’ve also seen a buck in mid-June that didn’t look to turn into much more than a decent eight, and then see it blow up into a Boone & Crockett class buck by August.
Leaner through the spotting scope on June 16
First summer pics of Leaner on June 28
July: July is when you’ll really be able to see what kind of head gear bucks will be sporting. Antler growth can explode at this time of year, with growth potentially being as substantial as an inch a day. June is really all about frame, and then in July you’ll really see tine length. By the end of the month, antlers should be very near to fully formed.
Leaner sporting a nicely developed frame on July 28
August: Growth will continue into early August, but don’t expect a whole lot of new growth once you get into the back half of the month. At that point blood flow to the antlers will cease and the hardening process will begin. Toward the very end of August peeling of velvet might begin.
September: Once September hits peeling of velvet continues or begins and most velvet will be gone after the first week or two of the month. At this point each buck has their final, hard horned rack for the fall!