About Elk Antler
No animals are harmed or killed when we harvest antlers.
Antlers in general are unique to the Cervidae family, which includes animals like elk, whitetail deer, and caribou. Antlers differ from horns in that they are shed every year and the elk grow a new, larger set the next year. Animals like cattle or Big Horn Sheep grow one set of horns, and if you cut them off, they don’t grow back. However, elk antler is a renewable resource. When the antlers are harvested in late August or early September, the animals are not harmed, and they will grow a new set the coming year.
During the growth period the antlers are full of blood, very tender, and covered in what is called velvet, a very soft, furry covering. The elk are very careful not to injure the antlers at this stage of growth, as a blow to an antler in velvet can damage it severely. During this amazing growth, the antlers can grow up to two inches a day. Elk antler is the fastest growing organ on a mammal aside from the moose antler.
By the end of August, most bulls have finished growing their antlers and they are sufficiently calcified that damage to them is rare. They will begin to peel the velvet around September and that’s a sure sign that the rut, or mating season, is not far off. The antler has fully grown by the time they are cut off, although there are always a few who have not taken the initiative to peel the velvet yet. Those are the white pieces of antler you may see; they are just as durable and safe as the ones that are colored from the elk rubbing them on the trees. The elk will shed their "buttons" or "burrs" instead of a whole antler in the spring.
We always have top quality elk antler dog chews because all of the antlers we sell are harvested from farm raised elk. The animals are very well fed and healthy, which contributes to the great quality, large amounts of marrow and HUGE pieces of antler we are able to obtain and cut into dog chews.
The antler is made up primarily of calcium and phosphorus with a few trace minerals. The outer part of the antler is extremely hard, while the core of the antler is softer marrow. The marrow center is the part that dogs love, and they will spend hours trying to get it all out.
Elk antler doesn't splinter, nor does it smell, and one chew can last from two to three weeks to months or even years, depending on the dog and its chewing tendencies, the size of the antler piece purchased, and whether the antler has been split or left whole.