White-tailed deer are the only animal in Illinois that grows antlers. Only males grow antlers, and they fall off each winter as a new pair begins to grow in. Antlers are one of the fastest-growing tissues in the animal kingdom! A deer’s antlers can grow a quarter-inch each day.
The deer that live all around us are related to elk, moose and caribou, which we also call reindeer. All these animals grow antlers too, and some of them get really big. An elk’s antlers can grow as much as 1 inch a day, and moose can grow 1 pound of antler tissue a day. Caribou are unique because they are the only member of the deer family in which both males and females grow antlers.