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Thread: Antler velvet

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    Default Antler velvet

    This this is really pertaining to caribou. With hunting caribou right now or later in August they are still in velvet. My question is at what point can you take the velvet off and still keep the antlers? I don't know if there is a point in time when it is to early to do so. Thanks

  2. #2

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    you can take the velvet off any time. there is always some sort of antler in development.

  3. #3

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    The hormone shift in early to mid august causes the blood flow to change and bone to harden to the tips by the end of the 2nd week or 3rd week.

    If you strip velvet manually before mid August on medium-sized bulls you might find the antler tips a little like carrots...so be careful with the antler sets and allow them to dry a few weeks before stripping. You can test the antler readiness by pinching and wiggling the tips like your testing a carrot for crispness. If the tips feel soft or hard you'll know it. Just be careful when handling them until the tips dry out completely.

    The antler will be white when you first remove the velvet, but after an hour or two they'll bleed through the pores and look terrible for a few days. Your taxi will stain them to look more naturally browned.

    Big bulls are usually ready to strip by the 3rd or 4th week of august (generally).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Larry Bartlett View Post
    Big bulls are usually ready to strip by the 3rd or 4th week of august (generally).
    Depending on rain, ambient air temperature and more importantly, the moon phase, most mature bull caribou bin Alaska are "hard-horn" by September 5th. Therefore, most mature bull caribou tend to have fully developed antlers by August 15th.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Larry Bartlett View Post
    The hormone shift in early to mid august causes the blood flow to change and bone to harden to the tips by the end of the 2nd week or 3rd week.

    If you strip velvet manually before mid August on medium-sized bulls you might find the antler tips a little like carrots...so be careful with the antler sets and allow them to dry a few weeks before stripping. You can test the antler readiness by pinching and wiggling the tips like your testing a carrot for crispness. If the tips feel soft or hard you'll know it. Just be careful when handling them until the tips dry out completely.

    The antler will be white when you first remove the velvet, but after an hour or two they'll bleed through the pores and look terrible for a few days. Your taxi will stain them to look more naturally browned.

    Big bulls are usually ready to strip by the 3rd or 4th week of august (generally).
    There is something I've wondered about for years..... A long time ago I guided a kid for caribou over in the Mulchatna drainage. There is a place over there where, at that time, the guys I guided for knew that only bulls came through at this time of year.....and boy did they! The first morning I tried my best to talk the kid out of shooting a "decent" double shovel, but he would have no part of it. You know how it is, you can talk yourself till you're blue in the face, but when some of these guys see that much horn they just have to have it.....first day or not. So in the end I'd tell them if they will be happy looking at that on the wall then ok. Well he killed it and that was that. He was only allowed one so all we had to do for the next couple days was sit back and enjoy the view.

    The next morning the bulls were still streaming by like crazy! And then I saw him with 4 or 5 other BIG bulls.... a world class "boonie" and possibly the biggest bull I've ever seen to this day! I had seen another guy hunting not far away and he appeared to be looking the other direction totally unaware of this big boy. The bulls were coming and would be there soon and I couldn't take it anymore, so I decided to run over and let this guy know about them. When I got there I think the old boy was sleeping so I tried not to startle him. I told him about the bulls, pointed them out, and left him to do what he wanted. Unfortunately the wind was blowing hard and the old guy missed as I watched that monster slowly walk away unaware that he'd even been shot at.

    Anyway, the thing that I've wondered about is this.... I didn't have my spotter with me at the time and the bull was far enough away to not be able to tell for sure with the binos, but out of all these bulls we had seen, he was the only one that appeared to not have any velvet on him at all. It was either that or his velvet was tan colored. It was totally obvious as that rack stood out like a sore thumb. I want to say it was mid August but just can't remember for sure now. On big bulls like this does the hormone that changes blood flow effect them differently....I mean enough to cause his velvet to fall off so soon? Or by some chance was there some glitch in his own chemistry to actually cause his velvet to be tan colored instead of the normal grey/charcoal color of all the rest? Has anybody ever seen anything like this?

    Needless to say the kid that I was guiding was just beside himself as all I could do was look at him and grin.......lol
    Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maverick940 View Post
    Depending on rain, ambient air temperature and more importantly, the moon phase, most mature bull caribou bin Alaska are "hard-horn" by September 5th. Therefore, most mature bull caribou tend to have fully developed antlers by August 15th.
    I was told by biologist if a animal can not see the moon it has no effect on them.

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    So If I happen to kill one. Just let the antlers set for a few weeks before stripping the velvet? I've seen pics of guys who stripped them in the field and they were all red looking so I wasn't sure when was the right time to do it..

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    If you get one in velvet and you don't wanna preserve it, take your pics then strip is OFF ASAP. Do not, and I say again DO NOT let it dry on for 2 weeks then bring it to a taxidermist and have it striped. It's a royal pain in the ass to get it and the thin membrane off the bone and all the blood out of the antler so it can be bleached WHITE, then properly stained.

    You our can go to my page and I did a huge write up on what and what not to do.

    If if you don't want it in velvet, strip it, and all the clear membrane off. Cape out the animal, cut the skull plate off or if for a euro trim the meat. Remove eyes, lower jaw, put it upside down TIPS down.,can easily suspend em from a willow bush or meat rack.,if you have a creek with clear water. Not swamp or glacier water, tie the rack off so it don't go down river and put it in the water over night., take out in the morning and hang TIPS DOWN. By the time your hunts done the rack will be bone white, blood free and should you decide to have it mounted, you saved your taxidermist lots of time and yourself money.

    hoytguy
    Quality Counts @ Dahlberg's Taxidermy

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    Default Some of last years

    Here's a few velvet caribou racks preserved from last year..if anyone has a question of what, or what not to do, ask on here for all to learn, send me a pm, or give me a call. 4 caribou in so far this year, taken 2-5 August. Today is 7 August and the tips are still spongy. I would not recommend stripping the velvet till the tips, all tips are pointy and solid.. Which is around 20-25 August on big Bulls,
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Quality Counts @ Dahlberg's Taxidermy

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    This was taken last August 22nd. The bull he was with still had velvet. This was in unit 13, draw permit. Antler tips were mostly hard, a few weren't quite set up yet.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Experience is the name every one gives to their mistakes. ~Wilde

  11. #11

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    If your from the interior and need help with your caribou antlers. with velvet preserve or not. call Fairbanks fur tannery. they are a whole bunch of help and do great work. 452-6047

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