Some readers will remember meeting Solo a few months ago, and perhaps appreciate an update. He’s two years old now, still immensely curious and still visiting us daily. But one thing is different: our little boy is looking quite grown up.
Over the years we’ve watched a number of male black-tailed deer at close range. At two years old, each has been different in the headgear department. Some early antlers, like those worn by Pretty Boy, have been symmetrical beauties; others have been short and stubby; a few have been only long, thin points. One of my favorite young bucks, Holey Coat, had just a single antler (I called him our “unicorn”).
I’d noticed the variety, but I’d never really paid attention to how fast those antlers can develop once they start growing. I’ve tried to document this growth in the short slideshow below (6 images with dates).
As you’ll see in the earliest photo (December 2012), up until last winter Solo showed only the slightest hint he would ever have antlers: tiny round marks on his forehead. By April, those nubs had swollen into respectable little bumps.
Then the pace suddenly picked up. His first set of antlers started to emerge: wide, thick and ever so promising. All being well, they’ll keep growing through the summer and into the fall, then late next winter he’ll lose them – to start all over again next spring.
I’ve read that deer antlers grow by half an inch a day at this time of year. Check out Solo’s progress in these six images (start from December – for manual controls, mouse over the lower part of the image). Don’t you agree, he’s growing up quickly?