Antler Use Diversified
Inside the Outdoors, December 5
, 2014

Before one thinks of ridding the antlers of a recent deer harvested, think twice. Believe it or not, these horns that we see growing out of the skull of area whitetail are said to have many uses, at least as to the research that was discovered.

According to en.wikipedia, “Antlers are unique to cervids and found mostly on males; only reindeer have antlers on the females, and these are normally smaller than those of the males.

Maybe that is the reason we can’t tell the difference between the males and females on Santa’s sleigh, not that it matters, of course.

Onward…

“Antlers have been used since prehistoric times,” stated this website, “to make tools, weapons, ornaments and toys. It was an especially important material in the European Late Paleolithic, used by the Magdalenian culture to make carvings and engraved designs on objects such as the so-called Baton de commandments and the Bison Licking Insect Bite. In later periods, antlers were used as a cheap substitute for ivory, was a material especially associated with equipment for hunting, such as saddles and horse harnesses, guns and daggers, powders flasks, as well as buttons and the like. The decorative display of wall mounted pairs of antlers has been popular since medieval times at least.”

The website went on to point out that “Antler headdresses were worn by shamans and other spiritual figures in various cultures, and for dances; 21 antler “frontlets” apparently for wearing on the head, and over 10,000 years old…” “Antlers are still worn as traditional headdresses.”

So what did continued research uncover?

One usage that stood out on the Internet was deer velvet. According to www.webmd.com, “…it covers the growing bone and cartilage that develops into deer antlers. People use deer velvet as a medicine for a wide range of health problems.”

It goes on to state, “Deer velvet is used to boost strength and endurance, improve the way the immune system works, counter the effect of stress, and promote rapid recovery from illness. It is also at the onset of winter to ward off infection.”

But if one thinks that’s all deer velvet is good for, let’s keep reading on this website. “Other uses include treatment of high cholesterol, high blood pressure, migraines, muscle aches and pains, asthma, indigestion, weak bones, headache, liver and kidney disorders, cold hands and feet, chronic skin ulcers, and overactive bladder. It is also used to promote youthfulness, sharpen thinking skills, protect the liver from toxins, stimulate production and circulation of blood, and increase the number of red blood cells.”

Deer velvet can be mixed with herbs to produce various outcomes, the website discloses. In this case, it can “improve athletic performance, eyesight and hearing, reduce stress, treat arthritis (osteoporosis), women’s reproductive disorders including premenstrual syndrome and skin conditions.” It has been found to reduce signs of aging.

Other usages found over cyber space include antlers used for knife handles, beam pieces, antlers used for rattling, rosettes, mounting in arches, garden decorations, and gateways.

One website brought to the table that any one of many sides of antlers can be so unusual that they can be rare and end up being collectibles, so the one antler that may be considered a toss, maybe should be considered a save, instead.

So, consider next time you kill your deer that there may be any number of uses for that deer’s headpiece. Who knows? Maybe there will be a new tradition started (or continued) to dangle parts of it from the branches of the Christmas tre.

~~~~~~~~~

The preliminary two-day bear harvest results have been tabulated. There were some mighty big bears harvested in our state. The largest so far was taken in Warren County weighing out at 677-pounds. The next two heaviest black animals were harvested in both Union and Butler Counties, respective, the first going at 623-pounds and the second, one slightly less at 598.

According to the Pennsylvania Game Commission, “The 2014 two-day preliminary harvest was just four bears shy of the 2,044 bears taken during the first two days of the 2013 statewide season, when the overall harvest was 3,510 bears – the fifth-largest harvest in state history. The two-day total was 2,086 bears in 2012, when the season total was 3.632 – the lard largest harvest on record, it stated.”

The southwest portion of the state recorded the harvest of 202 black bears. This included: Fayette (73); Somerset (69); Armstrong (21); Westmoreland (18); Cambria (10); and Indiana (11).

~~~~~~~~~~

Here’s a little bit of trivia. What other adult animals are identified as buck for the male and doe for the female genders besides deer? They are rabbits, hares, rats, antelopes, gerbils, hamsters, kangaroos, mice, pronghorns and squirrels.


- Paul J. Volkmann
Contact me by email

To buy my book, Off the Wall Favorites, call me at 724-539-8850.