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More Buck Schneakin'

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

As bucks get older, they get heavier in the shoulders and chest.  There are people who can age bucks by looking at them. I try. I have the small buck aged at 1.5 years, and the larger one at 3.5 years. Happy to be corrected. Might learn something! Experienced buck-agers, step up!

The neck swells during the rut. You can see that not much of that is happening yet with the small buck. The bigger one has a swollen neck, but he looks athletic and toned, not tanklike. He's pleasantly proportioned, not ponderous like a 4.5 or 5.5 year old buck would be. I've seen some monsters this year, and he's not one.

The forkhorn seemed pretty comfortable in his rival's company, lifting a rear hoof to give it a little attention.

 The big buck was listening and looking across the meadow. Bucks are all about possibility, about opportunity. During the rut, they're the guy who's pretending to be interested in you, but always looking over your shoulder to see who just walked into the bar. That guy.

 He sent a glance my way, freezing me still.

Then the forkhorn approached and clickety click, they were sparring again.

The last mini-match was the most vigorous.  A final salvo. I love the sprawly legs on the big boy here.

 The little buck got pushed back a few yards, and that, it seemed, was that.

The little buck sauntered toward me, and the big buck turned and cut across the meadow. 

He pooped all the way over, spreading his bucky scent far and wide. That guy, livin' large.

The little feller went over to scent mark on the west border of the meadow.

A lot of what bucks do during the rut is peeing and pooping and other sundry things that make for strong scent patches.

 Suddenly a big doe burst out of the border and launched herself through the flaming sumac.

Oh man, she was headed right for me, still rooted in my rickety blind of gray sunflower stalks.

She slowed down, caught her breath, and walked up the path, closer and closer.

 It was very still, so I think she heard my shutter.  Her head shot straight up. Funny, the bucks had completely ignored my shutter sounds, though they were doubtless close enough to hear them, as I'd heard their antlers clacking.

And that doe was outta there!

But being a doe, she had to stop and wheel around to wonder and stare for awhile. Bucks don't do that. When they go, they go!

I guess does tend to get away with curiosity. I have a notion that the relentless pressure of human hunting has shaped flight responses in deer, sorting their behavior by sex. You just won't see a buck getting all curious and walking up to you, stamping, or presenting his lung area for the perfect shot like this doe is doing. A buck who does stuff like that dies.

She gave me time to take a shot, yes, but also to take a deep breath and pull back and look at the incredible beauty of that morning. Of all that had happened, that I got to witness. The sun coming up golden behind the pines. The color, still leaking from the meadow. My Canon struggled and failed to truly capture it, but we got close. Please click on this photo and run through all of 'em embiggened. Don't know about you, but they look awful to me, small.

 Ka-thunk, ka-thunk! She was off again.

Back into the waiting arms (legs?) of the two bucks.

Little buck, still standing, watching the whole thing, wondering what got into her?

He decided to follow. Might be something worth running away from. Might get lucky.

Ecuador (Oct. 24-Nov 2) was ah-maaa-zing and I loved it, the birds and the Andes and the botany!! The wonderful companions! But I was so torn about missing the end of October in Ohio. The colors, the deer behavior, the weather...leaving my home with all this going on took FOMO to new heights.

I felt so blessed to catch the tail end of it all.

 I absolutely love the rut, 'cuz I jes' love schneakin' up on bucks. 


Glad you got to experience part of the rut Julie. I missed the whole thing 2 years ago when I hurt my knee.I was more upset about missing the rut than anything.

I love to see those tails waving as they make their get away. You got some good shots.

Very cool photos! I have only seen bucks sparring once and it was the best thing ever!
As CWD takes over our area and the DNR has started sponsoring "special" hunts to eradicate the deer, I believe our days of seeing wild whitetails in their natural habitat will become rare and this makes me really sad.

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