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Tom grew up in Milwaukee, bartended in Wauwatosa in the '70s and moved here in 1984.

Commentary, observations and musings about the outdoors, life in general and maybe Tosa politics and personalities will be the order of the day. He savors a lively debate as much as terrific cooking.

Antler Hunting

Antler Hunting, Deer Biology, Labrador Retrievers, Testosterone

Whitetail deer of the male persuasion shed their antlers every winter and begin growing a new set with the arrival of spring.  It's all about fluctuating testosterone levels.  You see, unlike human guys suffering from 'Low-T' and who might feel like their masculinity is beginning to dilute - when bucks suffer from Low-T their antlers fall-off. It's a wake-up calll for sure. They don't have access to testosterone supplements like Abbott Laboratories' Androgel.  You know - that goo you rub on your armpits to elevate your testosterone level and stave-off the effects of growing old.  If you were a male whitetail you would be at the mercy of all things - the length of daylight hours.  And Low-T is an annual event.

Here's how it works.

With the arrival of spring and the lengthing of daylight hours a whitetail's pituitary gland gets the message to increase testosterone levels.  Antler growth begins and throughout the summer testosterone levels rise.  As T-levels begin to peak the antlers harden in preparation for the breeding season and the velvet is shed with the arrival of fall.  By the time November rolls around male deer have raging testosterone levels.  They are like a giant gland with a roaring libido.  This brings on what is known as the rut.  Male deer have one and only one thing on their mind.  Propagate the species.  Unlike what you learned from watching Walt Disney's Bambi - deer do not have tidy family units consisting of papa, mama and Bambi.  That is an anthropomorphism.  It's Hollywood nonsense.  Deer are as promiscuous as all get-out.  And a dominant buck will mate with as many of the ladies as he can find.

With the close of the old year and arrival of the new year all of the ladies in the deer herd are typically pregnant and the days draw short.  As daylight dwindles and the nights grow longer testosterone levels in male deer drop.  Consequently their antlers drop.  Male deer shed their headgear during the depth of winter.  With the arrival of spring the process begins anew.

In any event, now is a good time to be outdoors getting your fresh air and exercise and doing some antler hunting.  Seriously, tell the kids to put aside their iPad, get off their duff and tromp around where the deer hang out.  You're bound to find some shed antlers and you can put your trophy on display for everyone to admire. The best part for you non-hunters is you get your antlers without drawing a bow or pulling a trigger.

I have a a couple of secret weapons for this endeavor. 

That's right.  My Labrador retrievers.  The girls are exceptionally astute at locating and retrieving antlers so we can cover more ground than me doing it solo.  Short of fetching a bird the girls like nothing more than fetching an antler.  For them it's a real prize.

Here's my Antler Queen...

 

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