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Thursday, March 14, 2013
BILL: I saw two bucks recently that still were carrying their antlers. Isn't it a bit late for that?
R.G.: I thought so, but just to be sure I asked Matt Knox, deer project leader for the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.
"Yes, I have gotten several reports recently of deer still holding their antlers," he said.
Knox sent me a clipping of an article on antler shedding written by Bob Duncan several years ago in Whitetail Times Magazine. Duncan is the executive director of the DGIF and Whitetail Times is the magazine of the Virginia Deer Hunters Association.
Duncan wrote that the peak of antler shedding in Virginia is February, but he has seen antler loss as early as Dec. 7 and as late as April 3.
The number of daylight hours - photoperiod - influences antler casting as does nutrition, he said.
Knox told me, "As a general rule, deer in better condition carry their antlers longer. Old bucks generally drop their antlers earlier than young bucks due to all the energy they burn off during the rut."
Deer currently are believed to be in good shape, the result of last fall's decent mast crop and the lack of prolonged, severe weather this winter. This should mean good conditions for antler development this spring and summer. Mark 2013 down as a trophy year.
Collecting shed antlers is becoming an increasingly popular late winter activity. Knox said he had found 10 shed this year, "but the next two to four weeks should be peak shed hunting."
BILL: Did your Webpage move to a different URL? I have not been able to view it for the last couple weeks. Hope all is well. It doesn't seem like Thursday unless I check out your site. Have enjoyed it for many years.
GREG: Several readers have told me the same thing. To access my column, notes and mail, you now need to use the URL www.roanoke.com/outdoors. Under the new redesign of roanoke.com, www.billcochran.com at this point no loner accesses my latest contributions.
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