Orono, ME (NEWS CENTER)-- This can be a harsh time of the year in Maine. Animals adapt magnificently to the season.
An argument raged on a hunting website last fall. The topic concerned what, specifically, what causes deer and moose to lose their antlers.
A Junior at the University of Maine had the answer, Meshed is a Wildlife Biology major. He had just written a paper for his Vertebrate Biology class.
It turns out that it's length of day which triggers the loss of antlers. The weather gets colder and causes a number of changes in the outdoors.
Michaud's recent paper explained that antlers are bone which grows from the skull of deer and moose. Wrapped in velvet in spring, this enables the vascular system to send nutrients to the rapidly growing antlers.
"They use them primarily for sparring in the fall," said Michaud who is an avid hunter. "They are trying to attract a mate. As the days get shorter and it gets colder, it triggers testosterone levels to drop. It causes the part of the bone that holds it to deteriorate and the antler falls off."
The first of January is an appropriate time to begin looking for sheds in Northern Maine. A number of people collect them either for fun or to make a little money on the side.
Some websites will buy antlers in bulk. Most Maine communities have someone who uses antlers for decoration or furniture making. Antlers sell for between five and ten dollars a pound.