You know this boy. You know who he is. You know his mama.
I trust it won't sound silly to regular readers when I say his face looked familiar. After all, it's my self-proclaimed job to notice things. To make connections. To see a doe trying to cross the road at an odd time of day, and put it together that she's approaching a plaster lawn ornament wearing taped-on antlers that, in her hormonal haze, looks mighty fine to her. Connecting the dots.
I studied the buck's face, his way of moving, and his behavior and yes. I know him. I know him from before.
Ellen the crooked doe showed up early this year, October 15, 2015. We were so glad to see her. Haven't seen her again, but we're waiting. She first showed up on our property in March 2009. She's getting on for a whitetail. We usually don't see her before November. But there was no mistaking her crooked face, even at a huge distance. Bill called it first as we stood in the tower, taking in the fall splendor. "That's got to be Ellen!"
The telephoto confirmed his hunch.
Bopping him with a front-hoof kick now and then. He didn't seem perturbed. And I saw something in this photo that made me stop.
Here's the windup...
I can't see much of his toes, the snow being deep and the angle wrong, but it looks to me like he might have a lightning stripe on his right rear foot in the photo above.
What I like about the 2013 model buckchild in the sequence above is his dark forehead. Darker than his mama's. The 2014 buck has a pale forehead. That dark forehead, and the white toe stripes...it makes me think. He's awfully familiar, walks around the yard under the feeders as if he's been here before. Even though there was no corn when he visited, he went to all the spots where I used to throw it.