Whether it's for a practical reason or for decoration, deer antlers have several surprising uses. From medicinal purposes to artistic sculptures, deer antlers are used regularly and are readily available because they are shed every year by males before the mating season in winter.
Some deer antlers are used in furniture. Because antlers are shed yearly they are considered a renewable, green product; a lot of furniture throughout history has been constructed from deer antlers. Antlers are used either as lamp stands, chandeliers or as the frame for chairs and tables.
Like furniture, deer antlers can be used as artistic pieces or sculptures. Traditionally, deer antlers are carved into decorative pieces that can be used as any of the following: a knife handle, a walking stick top, cutlery handles or as a candle holder.
moose antlers and sky image by Iva Janiga from Fotolia.com
Many deer antlers are used as hunting trophies. The rise of deer hunting in the U.S. and Western Europe means that hunters now take trophies as a record of the hunted deer's size and age. Trophy antlers are often hung on walls or placed above fireplaces. Due to a decreasing support for sport hunting, deer antlers that are hung as trophies are sometimes frowned upon or considered distasteful.
Surprisingly, deer antlers can also be ground down into dust and gelatin and are taken as medicine. In the Orient, many deer farms exist for the purpose of producing antler gelatin and powder; these medicines can be taken orally to combat joint difficulties and pain. Deer antlers are also said to nourish bone marrow and blood. There are currently over 5,000 deer farms in China and 5,100 in the U.K.