Deer Antler Velvet Handbook: Part 2 - Species Types and Harvesting

by Jason J. Duke - Owner/Artisan

Fresh Content: July 12, 2022 17:59

Species Types

There are four main species deer that are raised and harvested for their deer antler velvet. Each species has different cultural uses and different serving sizes related to their different constituent compositions, ranging from more medicinal concerning immediate benefits to more food-quality and nutrient filled. 

  1. Sika Deer
  2. Caribou Reindeer
  3. Red Elephant Deer
  4. Wapiti Elk

First, sika deer are the most potent and most medicinal. Second reindeer are still quite medicinal, but not quite as potent and containing more nutrients per dosage serving. Third, red deer are more nutrient filled and easy-to-take larger dose servings due to a lower medicinal quality. Fourth, elk are food-grade nutrient filled deer that do not have much of the capacity for the medicinal qualities. 

Sika Deer a.k.a. Plum Blossom 

1. Cervus Nippon Temminck

Native to Asia, including Japan, and raised on traditional family farms in rural China.

Sika have the smallest velvet antlers that are usually less than 1 kilogram. Average daily serving size is 500mgs to 2,000mgs daily.

Caribou Reindeer

2. Rangifer Tarandus

Siberian and North American Caribou Reindeer are wild harvested and game managed.

Reindeer velvet antler is medium sized, weighing 1-3 kilograms, that are medium-high potency. Average daily serving size is 1,000mgs to 3,000mgs.

Red Elephant Deer

3. Cervus Elaphus Linnaeus

Red elephant deer are native to Europe and commercially ranch-harvested in New Zealand.

Red deer velvet antler is medium sized and weigh 2-3 kilograms with an average potency compared to other species. Average daily serving size is 1,000mgs to 4,000mgs.

Wapiti Elk

4. Cervus Canadensis

American and Canadian Wapiti Elk are raised by an association of independent ranchers in North America.

Elk must be ranch raised and processed correctly to avoid chronic wasting disease that may be found in North America sourced elk.

Elk have very large velvet antler sticks that weigh 4 kilograms. Average daily serving size is 3,000mgs to 5,000mgs.

Harvesting and Processing

Right Timing, No Waste

All parts of the antler velvet stick are harvested in summer when the highest active constituent concentrations are measurable. This is done before the antlers harden and calcify in the fall.

Cleaned and Processed for Safety

The removed velvet sticks are hygienically processed to perverse the unique concentration of nutrition. Traditional processing involves repeated boiling and drying. The modern processing of velvet antler is done by washing, freezing, thawing, and lengthy 30 day low temperature dehydration or freeze drying. It is then flash pasteurized.

Either of these methods will reduce the weight of velvet antler by up to 50% or more before being graded for use in the production of powders or aqueous extracts.

Graded for Quality Control

Finally, velvet antlers are graded and sold according to industry guidelines and standards.

Deer Antler Velvet Handbook

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