Male deer are always shown as having magnificent horns: their antlers, which branch out into tines, or forks.
But they do not have this fine decoration all the year round.
Every year at the end of the winter, deer lose their antlers. They only grow again in the summer during the mating season. When the antlers reappear they are covered with a soft velvety skin criss-crossed by delicate veins. This skin then dries, and the animal rubs up against tree trunks to get rid of the last irritating shreds.
Thanks to these horns deer can do battle with each other for the possession of one or more hinds. So the antlers are both a weapon and the distinctive mark of the male sex. They only fully develop when couples or harems have been formed (one deer often has several females to himself).