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Do Deer Eat Their Antlers?

Nice deer in the wild forest.

Deer are majestic creatures that people have long been interested in observing and trying to figure out what they are all about. We know for certain that their antlers come off of them at some point, but people always wonder how that happens and why. There is even a rumor that the deer eat their own antlers and that is why they disappear from their body.

As it turns out, the rumor about eating their own antlers is something that we should explore more in-depth.

What Are Deer Antlers?

Deer antlers on rustic non paint wooden background.

You may see deer antlers hanging up high in the living room of some hunter somewhere and admire them. They are hard to look away from once you notice them. They are certainly beautiful to look at, but you might also wonder what they really are and why they deserve the attention that they receive.

The truth is that deer antlers are actually an extension of the deer’s skull. They are made from bone, cartilage, skin, tissue, and blood cells. Essentially, they are just an extension of the deer’s body.

Facts About Deer Antlers

It is vital to know that antlers are not horns. They have some similar characteristics in the fact that they are found on top of the head of an animal, but they are certainly not horns. It is easy to see how someone could get those two ideas confused, but it is important to recognize the difference.

They don’t serve the purpose of being used for combat as some animals use their horns, but they may serve as a defensive deterrent in some specialized cases. The point is, deer antlers are more about attracting a mate than they are about any kind of utilitarian purpose beyond that. Thus, deer antlers are very pretty to look at.

They have to be in order to be as appealing as they are to a potential mate.

Do Deer Antlers Have Value To Humans?

Antlers deer horns on a furry background.

Yes, deer antlers can be very valuable to humans who want to look them over. They are used not only for scientific purposes (though that is certainly one use for them), but also to have in one’s home as an object to look at and appreciate. Given what we know about deer antlers being used to attract mates, it makes sense that they are objects of beauty.

There is a market for deer antlers where one can fetch different rates depending on the type of antler that they have. A few of the going rates right now are:

  • Brown quality mule deer: $10 per lb.
  • Brown quality elk: $12 per lb.
  • White quality mule deer: $6 per lb.
  • Brown quality elk: $8 per lb.
  • Chalk quality mule deer: $2 per lb
  • Chalk quality elk: $3 per lb.

You would have to find someone who happens to be in the market for that kind of thing in order to get those prices, but there are plenty of people who are, and you may find a buyer who is willing to pay you when you find great antlers.

Do Antlers Rot Away?

A deer skull with one antler lays in a stream with running water.

If antlers are kept in someone’s home away from animal chewing and exposure to the elements, it takes many years for deer antlers to rot away.

Thus, it is unlikely that a set of antlers that you buy will be in any danger of rotting away if you keep them properly maintained and stored away like they need to be. You should be able to see plenty of years of enjoyment and viewership out of your deer antlers if you just do that.

Do Deer Eat Their Antlers?

The root of the question that many people have about antlers is if deer eat their own antlers. It is a fair question given the fact that the antlers seemingly disappear over time. However, the real answer to this is that deer do not eat their antlers.

The antlers simply fall off over time as part of the natural course of things. In fact, antlers are incredibly fast-growing. Thus, the deer may experience their antlers falling off within a year or less depending on how quickly they have grown and what the situation is.

You might find deer antler out in the woods and on various trails if you go out looking for it. You might want to keep an eye out for this kind of thing to see what you can find while you are out there. It is sure to be rather impressive!