Deer Antler Velvet is harvested from several types of deer or elk. They are:
  • Cervus elaphus (red deer, New Zealand red deer, elk and wapiti)
  • C. elaphus xanthropygus (Chinese wapiti)
  • Cervus Nippon Temminck (Silka deer)
  • Dama dama (Fallow deer)

Usually velvet harvesting takes place 50-55 days after the casting of the previous set of hard antlers. This about half way through the normal growth period of deer antlers. Choosing this time allows the antler to reach a decent size, yet not reach calcification or ossification stages yet. Those stages are when the antlers turn from a cartilaginous, tissue-like state into an ossified, bone-like antler (Suttie et al., 2004).

It is important to know how the company you select to buy DAV extract from, harvests the raw material. Humane harvesting should be the only way Deer Antler Velvet is collected. The deer are never under stress and are carefully monitored by a veterinarian as the antler velvet is collected.

The antler velvet should be frozen after collection to prevent decomposition. Since DAV is perishable, it must be dried to remove excess water. The methods that are used to dry the antler velvet are important as well. According to studies, freeze-dried DAV was found to have the most active compounds and to be high quality and preserve the collagen content and biological activity of the DAV (Zhang et al., 2000).

The company you choose to purchase your Deer Antler Velvet from should exhibit good quality control over the entire process of collecting the raw material. This includes the conditions of where the deer are farmed, diet, time of harvest, antler size at harvesting and degree of ossification of the antler when harvested.

All of these factors determine the quality of biological components that make up DAV extract. And there are other factors companies should have control over as well. Like the care and measures taken when the harvesting process occurs, which portion of the antler is processed, how the antler velvet is stored, transport time to manufacturing facility, length of time the antler velvet is stored before processing and the actual processing techniques. These factors also play a huge part in the quality of the raw material the company has to work with.

Most companies choose to source their raw materials from other manufacturers or from large deer farms in other countries. Doing this can cause a host of problems with quality control over the raw materials these companies receive.

The companies that get their raw materials from other manufacturers, whether in the U.S. or overseas; cannot know how the deer were raised and fed, what they were fed, the exact time of harvest, if harvesting was done humanely, how the antler velvet was stored and how long it was in storage before it was processed, what the processing techniques were, transport time to processing and storage and transport time to these companies once it is processed. 

Unfortunately, most companies do not farm their own deer and have very little control over the product they receive. So that means, if you choose a company that sources its raw materials elsewhere, you have very little control over the efficacy of the product you are buying.

Do the research and try to focus on companies that farm their own deer and manufacture their own DAV. There are companies out there that still believe quality should always come first.