RIO GRANDE VALLEY, Texas (ValleyCentral) — As this majestic buck emerges at dawn, his impressively swollen velvet-clad antlers glow in the rich golden light of early morning.

It is a time of transition in the South Texas brush country, as antler development in Whitetailed-deer comes full circle, and some bucks are already beginning to shed the velvet-like sheath covering their newly hardened antlers.

Antler development begins in early spring when bucks shed their racks, and it is a miraculous process. Antlers accomplish what no other bone can, as antlers grow faster than any animal bone.

During the annual spring and summer growth cycle, bucks’ antlers can grow as much as an inch each day. Antlers are essentially an extension of the head. As soon as old antlers fall off new ones begin to emerge as a tangle of cartilage encased in specialized skin called velvet, so filled with blood that it’s warm to the touch.

After some six months of growth, as days become shorter, hormonal changes cease the growth process. Swollen velvet antlers begin to appear almost shrink-wrapped, and soon thereafter bucks begin aggressively rubbing off dried velvet revealing their shiny new racks.

It may appear quite bloody and look painful, but it is a natural occurrence that happens every year about this time as bucks energetically rake their antlers in the thorny brush.

Dangling scraps are bothersome, however, and bucks will do their best to rid themselves of pesky strands as quickly as possible, with most deer completely polishing their antlers in a matter of hours.

Every newly revealed antler is different, as each is a specially designed work of nature.

Their intriguing growth cycle and unique attributes create a fascinating aura of antler allure.