Once a Spike, Always a Spike?
This poor and somewhat embarrassing photo dug out of my ancient archives supports the point of this column. Spikes are almost always young bucks wearing their first set of antlers.
Back when a hunter’s only question was “Does he have horns,” we filled lots of tags with spikes and 4-points, all a year and a half old. Those spikes would always be spikes because those racks would be the only antlers they would ever be allowed to grow. We seldom saw a buck that was any older than 1½ years.
Today we see bigger, older bucks. And we have plenty of evidence that a spike may be a spike not because of poor antler genetics, but because his mother was stressed during gestation, he was born late, or other reasons. He might be a spike carrying antler genetics of a trophy buck, but it will take time and nutrition to overcome a slow start and demonstrate what potential he has.