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What is it?

Our photographers have been busy exploring the intricacies of the Missouri outdoors. See if you can guess this month’s natural wonder. The answer is revealed below.

 

Whitetail deer

On the back cover and right is a whitetail deer with velvet-covered antlers by Jim Rathert. Sometimes incorrectly referred to as horns, deer antlers are not the same as horns. Horns are a product of the skin that grow continuously and are not shed. Antlers are bony growths that are shed and regrown annually. Growth occurs at the tip of the antler rather than at the base, as with horn growth. During the spring and summer, antlers grow with an outer coating of skin called velvet. Covered by a dense mat of fine hair, the velvet is laced with blood vessels that supply it with nourishment to grow. The velvet dries up and is shed in late summer or early fall to expose a hardened bony antler.

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