Yeti

Horn Age

Roadgoat

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Does anyone know how long (roughly) it takes lichen to start growing on a horn?

The antler is in great shape and was in thick timber. I’d guess it’s a 4-5yo horn but figured the lichen might be a more accurate indicator.

@antlerradar ?

Thanks in advance!
 

antlerradar

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In all the antlers I have fond that I know the age, I have yet to find an antler with lichen that was less than 12 years old. Most are better than 15.

Picture?
 
Last edited:

Bambistew

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A lot of antlers are much older than people think. The amount of sunlight they get, the soil, amount of moisture and vegetation they are in also plays a part. I've seen yard elk antlers I know were more than 50 years old that looked better than some I've found.

If I go to one of my spots this spring I'll take a picture of a moose paddle that has been laying there for 12 years now, and it was old AF when I found it back then. I don't recall there being any lichen on it but we don't get many lichen on antlers here

Lichen grow very slowly as well, 1-2mm a year. I would agree with @antlerradar that 15 years would be a good guess but it could vary as well probably decades.
 

antlerradar

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I went through the antler collection last night. I have 10 antlers with lichen of known age. Four of them are between 12 and 15 years on the ground. Of the four this antler has the most lichen. This buck was shot in the 96 or 97 and I found the antler is 2010. Biggest lichen spot is less than a 1/4 inch square. DSCN4231.JPG
 

Carl 9.3x62

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Interesting thread. My buddy found a deer shed this last weekend that was probably 75% burried. The exposed bone was crumbly and had lichen growing on it. The burried part was in surprisingly decent condition.

This is probably the oldest I have found, tucked up under a sagebrush bush. 20220504_155227.jpg 20220504_155203.jpg
 

antlerradar

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I found maybe a dozen old rotten elk antlers in SE Montana in the 80's and 90's. Since this was before the latest elk arrived, those antlers had to date back to the 1920's or earlier. The oldest antler I have ever found that I could be certain of the age was from a buck my dad shot in the early 70's and I found the antler forty plus years later.
 
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