This thread isnât to start a pissing contest or to insult anyone. This is for information only. In another thread I stated someone shot a spike and just left it there. Another person who probably repeated something some other wise sage said âIf it was a spike with really long horns then it wasn't necessarily a bad thing. The forkies get shot while the 5 yr old spikes pass on the gene.â Now for the short version: Older spikes are not necessarily due to genetics the environment plays a more important role. For those of you thirsting for information read on. Antler growth is dependent on several factors. Yes, genetics is one of them but more importantly is water, nutrition and stress. Antlers are composed mostly of protein 45% the rest is calcium 22%, phosphorus 11% and other trace minerals. What a buck eats in the spring and early summer as well as an adequate supply of water determines antler growth. If the browse is not of a sufficient nutrient value it will affect antler growth. If there isnât enough water it will reduce antler growth and one year of normal waterfall after several years of drought wonât reverse things overnight. Here is one that may be of most interest STRESS. It has been shown that stress from hunting pressure reduces antler growth. Guess what, itâs not only the two legged hunter that causes the stress. So if the environment is not conducive to antler growth there can be a lot of spikes running around that are older then they should be but when things turn around the normal antler growth should return. Additionally, it is not uncommon to see a three year old spike itâs a normal occurrence.