Do elk and deer shed their antlers every year? Male white-tailed deer grow and shed their antlers every year. Antlers are composed of true bone. Antler growth begins in late March or early April and the growing bone is covered by skin with numerous blood vessels (velvet). In late summer and early fall, testosterone levels increase. This hormone elevation results in the antlers hardening and the buck rubs off the drying velvet. When testosterone levels begin to drop, antlers start to shed in the early spring and new ones begin to form throughout the year.