Shedding is affected by photoperiod, nutrition and genetics all of which affect the hormone balance that triggers shedding. Most in the rockies will start losing antlers in mid to late February, but others in the same area could drop in January, while others won't drop until mid March. They don't normally shed both sides at exactly the same time, which is why it is rare to find matching sets. But they will shed within about 2-3 days of each other.
Yes it means the length of daylight. Nature uses photoperiod to trigger many seasonal reactions, rather than just weather, as a cold or hot, or wet, or dry spell could be disastrous if that was a plant or animal's sole indication of when to rut, drop leaves, produce seeds, drop antlers, grow a new coat of hair, shed current hair, etc.
Deer hunters spend so much time trying to pattern deer that we forget that we also can be "patterned." After all, most of us hunt the same days and the same hours, so it isn't difficult for deer to figure us out.
While we would never recommend giving up hunting the traditional moving times for deer -- early morning and late evening -- it's important to keep in mind that deer will move at other times of the day. Sometimes hunting through lunch, or getting in your stand earlier than usual for an...