|February 10, 2008 13:41 - Deer resistant bulbs
Now is the time to plant bulbs in most parts of the US and you might as well plant bulbs that are deer resistant. As I have said in the past, there are no plants that are 100% deer proof, but there are many plants that deer don't like to eat and will only eat as a last resort to starving to death.
Have you ever noticed patches of daffodils that get larger and larger through the years? Daffodils are bulbs that you can plant that are deer resistant. They are rarely eaten by deer.
A family of rarely-damaged bulbs are the Allium or onion family. These decorative bulbs can be fairly expensive, so like most bulbs, you want to make sure you are the one enjoying them, not the deer.
There is a chart of rarely-damaged-bulbs at Deer resistant bulbs chart
Ultimate site for deer management
February 10, 2008 14:03 - Deer Antlers 101 A 41-point buck is 41 years-old?
Have you ever heard that the number of points on a buck's antlers refers to his age? That is absolutly wrong. The number of points doesn't have anything to do with the age of the deer. The general size of the antlers does give a general indication of the age of th buck, but not the points. The base of the antlers is the only part that gets larger each year. The points does indicate the relative health of the buck.
When a buck's antlers are smalll and then, it is probably malnurished. On the other hand, the 41-point buck that was resently shot in Oklahoma was obviously very well nourished. Antlers take 4-5 months to grow and need lots of food to produce them. They can weigh up to 80 pounds and be 6 feet across. There are ocasional outside influences that will cause strange antler development. If you really want to see good examples of this, go to the Buckhorn Saloon in San Antonio and look at all the record antlers on display.
Antlers are not the same as horns. Only deer have antlers. More about antlers next time. For now, check out this picture of a 41-point buck that was killed by a 9 year-old boy in Oklahoma.
February 14, 2008 13:27 - Deer Antlers Continued
Deer antlers, who knew there was this much to them? How old is this guy above?
Deer antlers have four stages of growth. This four stage growth cycle is controlled by the buck's endocrine system and in response to seasonal changes like daylength. The first stage are the nascent antlers which emerge in the spring from the small stumps of bone on a male deer head called pedicles. These pre-antlers are covered with "velvet: and are soft and pliable. Velvet, as it is known since it looks like brown velevet, is actually a thin skin containing a vascular system that carriers minerals and proteins into the growing antlers. The first year, a fawn grows his pedicles. The second yer, he sprouts straight shafts, the first year the first branches appear. As he gets older the antlers will get longer and often he will get multiple branches.
It takes about three months for the antlers to reach full size. The velvet stays on the antlers for about four months from when they first began to grow. It comes off as the bone hardens.
In the fall, mating season begins and the velvet comes off. To help the velvet come off sooner, the buck often rubs his antlers against trees. This rubbing is also to sharpen the antlers.
Since female animals natural migrate to the healthiest males, it is believed that the female deer prefer the males with the biggest rack of antlers, since this is a sign of health.
The pedicles are the point from which the antlers annually break off in the spring. The antler shedding takes two to three weeks and shortly afterward the cycle starts again.
Next time you see a deer look closely and you will be able to roughly guess his age.