We’ve seen plenty of whitetail deer and elk alike shed their velvet, but it’s a bit rarer to catch the actual moment when one of these hooved creatures sheds an entire antler.
A TikToker named hunter_brown28 posted the video which focused on three grazing bull elk in a sunlit field. The moment started off quite serene as the three bachelors didn’t seem interested in challenging each other. But then one of the larger bulls in the group turns its head and locks antlers with another for a moment before rearing up, getting ready to charge the competitor at full force.
Within that moment, though, the elk loses one of its vital weapons, its six-plus-point antler falling to the ground. Lucky for the spritely bull, his competitor only wanted to escape the situation instead of finishing him off.
The shedding elk, himself, seemed to need a moment to adjust to the lack of weight on his head anyway.
Take a look.
@hunter_brown28 #elk #hunting #huntingtiktok #foryoupage #foryou #4u ♬ A Country Boy Can Survive – Hank Williams, Jr.
Likely, the original videographer caught this crucial moment at the end of the rut, meaning after the bulls and cows have mated. So, even without his antler, he probably won’t run into too much trouble with more balanced-headed competitors.
Meanwhile, in the comments of the TikTok post, viewers theorized what was going through the elk’s head when he lost his massive antler.
“he says ‘wait? where did it go? what??'” one posted.
“Ruts over, so they’re like ‘dude can you scratch this for me?'” another said.
Others drew similarities to a certain one-antlered deer named Elliott from the animated film, Open Season, even quoting one of his classic lines: “‘I’m a buck and I’m a doe. IM A DUCK!!!'”
Why Do Elk Shed Their Antlers?
A couple of viewers on TikTok weren’t quite clear why elk have to shed their antlers in the first place. After all, they just grow back every year only to fall off again. To newcomers to the world of big game animals, the continuous cycle seems like a waste of energy.
But, as most of us Outsiders know, the process is a crucial part of the species’ survival.
It all stems from what is attractive to elk cows. Typically, these potential mates tend to go for bulls that not only have large antlers but also symmetrical ones. Even if a male has a lot of points on his rack, if the antlers don’t look the same on both sides, or are lop-sided, they likely won’t mate with that bull. Shedding allows bulls to regrow a more attractive pair of antlers each year. But growing a better set requires a healthy and consistent diet. A lack of nutrients or trauma to the base of their antlers will greatly stunt their chances of mating the next rut.
With the look of the TikTok elk’s current rack, it’s safe to say he has a good chance of finding a cow next season.