Deer Antlers & Protecting Trees from Rubbing

Despite our love for the animal, it is true that deer can be a nuisance and health hazard to many humans.  Disease-carrying ticks fasten themselves to deer and consume the blood of the host, and if deer visit your property so too can ticks which may fall off and on to the land around your home or business. Deer munch on and consume the produce in vegetable gardens … and the shrubs, leaves, branches, and flowers of privately-owned and cultivated landscapes.

Male deer, also known as bucks, damage trees when in autumn and winter they commit to “rubbing” – the process in which they rub their antlers – which fall off and grow anew every year – against the trunk and bark of trees to remove what is called antler felt. This is a soft, and blood and hormone-rich, velvet that during spring and summer, feeds and activates growth properties in the antlers which are also fairly soft and pliable throughout that part of the year.

Buck attempting to rub off the velvet layer of his antlers against a tree.


As fall and mating season – the “rut”— approaches, and buck testosterone rises in preparation, antlers harden and the felt, having done its job, dries and begins to shed. In the exercise of mating, when males joust and compete against each other to win over females, a hard antler surface is more valuable than one encased in felt. Once a buck commences to rubbing off the antler felt, it usually completes the task in 24 hours.

Result of deer rubbing on tree.

Rubbing strengthens neck and shoulder muscles so that the buck can better compete in the fighting.  Rubbing and the mating game for bucks also involves the deer rubbing his head, under which are scent-producing glands, against the tree and transmitting to the tree his scent.  This action is another form of marking and staking a claim, with the scent drawing females looking to mate, and maybe discouraging male competition.

Give us a call at ohDEER to schedule a spraying of our ALL NATURAL Deer Control Solution that is not harmful to deer and safe for nature! This solution is made of essential oils that deter deer away from your plants and landscaping. Let us help you save money on eaten vegetation! 

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