WON Landing Page OCT 2022

Bone hunting: The difference between antlers and horns

Mia Anstine explains the difference between antlers and horns in her latest blog post via Beretta USA.

It’s that time of year! The weather is getting warmer, snow is melting, and hunters are preparing for spring turkey hunting. Part of this is deciding which gun, choke and shotgun shell you will use. Another part of this involves scouting and locating turkey habitat. Springtime is a when we head out to look for those gobblers for upcoming seasons. While we’re out there, we can seize the opportunity to teach our young ones about wildlife and the outdoors. It’s also the time when bucks and bulls lose their antlers. This is a perfect time to drag our families, young and old, along to do another type of hunting: shed hunting!

Shed hunting is an activity that gets us away from the TV and outside to enjoy God’s creations. It is quite similar to the Easter egg hunts we had as kids. Regardless of your desire, or lack of, to hunt animals, anyone can enjoy it.

I often hear people say they are going “bone hunting” or “horn hunting.” Although some know that antlers are not horns or bones, others may not know this information.


Jana Waller. Photo courtesy of Jim Kinsey

Jana Waller. Photo courtesy of Jim Kinsey


What are Antlers?

Antlers are similar to bones, but they grow and then die and fall off each year. While the antlers are growing, they have a blood flow through them and are covered in a fuzzy coating referred to as “velvet.” In this stage, before the antler dies, if it is broken it can bleed. Later, the blood flow decreases and the antler dies and falls off, or is shed. After the antler has died, if you break, it it’s just like an old dried out bone.

The hormones cause a restriction of blood flow in the antlers and causes them to die and fall off. They begin to regenerate just a couple months after the male drops them. They are generally a little larger than the previous year until the animal is elderly and on the decline of life’s cycle. The time frame of antler shedding and size varies depending on the area the animals live in and the feed and minerals they have access to.


Read more at Mia’s blog via Beretta USA.

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    The Women's Outdoor News, aka The WON, features news, reviews and stories about women who are shooting, hunting, fishing and actively engaging in outdoor adventure. This publication is for women, by women.