Whitetail and mule deer lose (or shed) their antlers once a year. When new antlers appear, they are covered with a tight skin called velvet. The velvet covering supplies the growing antler with moisture and nutrients necessary for growth. Eventually, the velvet is shed from the antler leaving only hard, smooth bone. The antler will disintegrate over the course of the year until a new set grows, covered in new velvet.
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