Accession number: 1978.102
Object type: Deer
Date: circa 1894
Narrative: Supposed to be antlers of one of first deer shot in Nova Scotia. Shot by Gordon Benson, given to Mrs. Melanson in 1958.
These antlers are the horn-like appendages of a male deer. Antlers consist of bony outgrowth coming from the head with no covering of keratin as is found in true horns. Each antler grows from an attachment point in the skull called a pedicle. While an antler is growing it is covered with highly vascular skin called velvet, which supplies oxygen and nutrients to the growing bone; once the antler has achieved its proper size, the velvet is lost and the antler's bone dies. This dead bone structure is the mature antler. Antlers shed after each mating season.
In the 19th century southern and central European hunters often pursued game only for a trophy, usually the head or pelt of an animal, to be displayed as a sign of prowess. This is perhaps the most common practice of modern hunters worldwide.