More Information About Antlers
Deer communicate in many different ways including sounds, scent and marking. All deer are capable of producing audible noises, unique to each animal. Fawns release a high pitched squeal, known as a bleat, to call out to their mothers. Does also bleat, as well as grunt. Grunting produces a low, guttural sound that will attract the attention of any other deer in the area. Both does and bucks snort, a sound that often signals danger. As well as snorting, bucks also grunt at a pitch that gets lower with maturity. Bucks are unique, however, in their grunt-snort-wheeze pattern that often shows aggression and hostility.
Antlered deer possess many glands that allow them to produce scents, some of which are so potent they can be detected by the human nose. Three major glands are the orbital, tarsal and metatarsal glands. Orbital glands are found on the head, and scent is deposited from them by rubbing the head, often the area around the eyes, on hanging twigs. The tarsal glands are found on the lower outside of each hind leg. Scent is deposited from these glands when deer walk through and rub against vegetation. The metatarsal glands, found on the inside "knee" of each hind leg, are the most potent.
During the first year the pedicles appear on the young deer's forehead. The following year, the youngster sprouts straight, spike- like shafts, and in the third year, the first branch appears. In successive years, as the deer matures, his antlers lengthen and, in most species, he acquires additional branches. One can actually determine the age of the deer from the number of branches on his antlers, as their number increases with age.
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