Deer Nut on the Outdoor Channel

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If you get the Outdoor Channel, check out the show “Boone & Crockett Country” that starts this week. Each episode airs 3 times each week (3:30am Tue, 12pm Fri, 10am Sunday). I have done some script writing for the show in previous seasons and for this season I wrote small parts of the scripts for episodes #2 – #10 (Episode #10 is based entirely on my magazine article by that name). I will appear on camera at least once during most episodes (#2-10) to insert biological information.


Do birds eat deer?

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Sure looks like it!

Do deer eat birds?

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Odd things from the deer world reach my desk.  I have to share this one.  

In the Shadows

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My friends at the Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute have some great information about the use of shade by deer here.

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The branching appendages found on male members of the deer family are not “horns,” but more correctly called antlers. The term ‘antler’ comes from the Latin ‘anteoculare’, meaning “in front of the eyes.” Small platforms (pedicles) on the male’s skull give rise to a spongy, cartilage-like tissue covered with a hairy skin (velvet) full of nutrient transporting blood vessels. Antlers are the fastest growing tissue in the animal kingdom – up to ½ inch per day! Because dietary intake cannot supply enough minerals to support that rate of growth, the male’s body mobilizes calcium from the entire skeleton to use for antler mineralization. The body then replaces the minerals in the skeleton with dietary nutrients when antler growth has slowed. This process is similar to osteoporosis, which has led researchers to use it as a model to find a cure for that disease. In the fall, testosterone levels rise, which stops antler growth, triggers the mineralization of the cartilage-like tissue and the drying of the blood vessels in the velvet. When the tissue has dried, the buck rubs off the velvet on a tree or bush. After breeding is complete, other hormonal changes (mostly a drop in Testosterone) in the male’s body trigger a weakening of the tissue at the base of the antlers and allows the antlers to fall off. After only a few weeks, the next cycle of antler growth begins.