Embryonic Diapause

by Pedro Ampuero

Roe deer season starts this sunday. I have been doing some scouting but havent found anything good enough yet. Spending time in the woods in early season is as important as shooting our bows, in order to localize the big males when the woods are so calm.

The reason of this post is to share the curios reason roe deer have antlers this time of the year, which is when all other deer species in the northern hemisphere lose their antlers.

Roe deers have just lost their velvet during this past month of March, and the rut usually takes place in early august. This does not have much sense since this will cause the fawns to born in winter time, in which they will not have any chance of surviving. The phenomenom females experience to solve this is called Embryonic Diapause.

In embryonic diapause, the embryo does not immediately implant in the uterus, but is maintained in a state of dormancy. Little to no development takes place while the embryo remains unattached to the uterine wall. As a result, the normal gestation period is extended for a species-specific period of time, until females give birth in May, in which the resources are plenty. Other mammals do the same but the roe deer is the only deer to do this.

This is the reason why in europe the hunting season goes year round, since we have antlered animals both in spring and autumn.

Good luck all in the woods,

Pedro Ampuero


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