Livre de la chasse
Bequest of Clara S. Peck, 1983
Recognizing a Great Hart from the Fraying Post
About the middle of June, the horns of a great stag would be covered with a soft hair called velvet, under which the horns would grow hard and sharp, so that by Mary Magdalene's Day (July 22) they would fray their horns against trees, rubbing the velvet away and making their horns even harder and stronger. Thus, the height of the frayed bark, along with the twisted and broken branches, might have indicated the presence of a great and warrantable hart. Young stags, by contrast, did not fray against thick trees. In addition a great stag's lair would be long and wide and the grass therein much flatter than that of a young one.
Image courtesy of Faksimile Verlag Luzern