The five British deer species which carry antlers replace them every year.
Antlers are dropped, or cast, and grow back over a period of months while covered in a furry skin called velvet. When growth is complete the velvet is rubbed off and the antler is described as clean. Older animals tend to cast and clean their antlers first.
The photo below shows a cast fallow alongside another not yet cast.
The table below is a general guide to the timing of this process though it is difficult to be precise.
|Antlers cast||Antlers in velvet||Antlers clean|
|Red stags||Mar - May||May - Aug||Sep - Mar|
|Sika stags||Mar - May||May - Aug||Sep - Mar|
|Fallow bucks||Apr - May||May - Aug||Sep - Apr|
|Roe bucks||Nov - Dec||Jan - Mar||Apr - Nov|
|Muntjac bucks*||Apr - Jun||May - Aug||Sep - Apr|
* As muntjac can breed all year round, you may see immature bucks in velvet or bearing clean antlers outside these dates.
The video below is a photo record of a red stags antler growth taken by our Deer Officer Glyn Ingram.