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You'll Put Your Eye Out!!!

Thursday, January 31, 2019

 One minute they were grooming and smooching, Ringo giving TinyTine a delightful massage with teeth and tongue, and the next thing I knew, Ringo was all of a sudden sorta jabbing TinyTine in the neck. You liked the massage? How you like this? Bucks will be bucks.

And the poky-jabby move morphed into a push-fight.

 I hope you click on these and view them all larger, because my eyes, at least, aren't good enough any more to see the detail at this size. Look at TinyTine's eye in the photo below. (he's the right hand animal). It's shut. I have seen enough buck sparring matches now to get really nervous about the combatants' big vulnerable eyes. I wonder why I don't see more bucks with one eye, the way those tines rattle and thrust around. Maybe there's something in the architecture to spare their eyes when they're locked together, but it makes me extremely antsy to watch these matches.

The other thing that makes me nervous is the possibility that their antlers will lock together. Then what do I do? Go out and throw a tarp over them and take a hacksaw to them? Arrgh. What an awful thought, and far too dangerous to mess with. You could really get banged up getting in the middle of two terrified, locked-together bucks. It'd be like climbing into a Cuisinart.

So I watch these matches with a mixture of excitement and anxiety, hoping nobody gets his eye poked out, or worse. Obviously, Lil' Pisser is watching with some concern as well!

I love this portrait of the three of them. TinyTine on the left; Ringo on the right, and Lil' Pisser in the middle, right where he likes to be, alla time. Do you know how lucky I feel to be able to witness stuff like this?

This is what it looks like from the couch. Thanks to Bill for this shot of the deerstalker, stalking deer from inside the big heated blind! Most of my sessions are done around daybreak. I look out, see deer, throw on a bathrobe and go. I usually freeze my tuchis off in the process. 

Worth it, though, because the deer never know they're being watched, and they do whatever they do, which is exactly what I want them to do. 

Sorry to dash the vision of anyone who thought I get shots like this while wearing a ghillie suit and jungle-crawling through the little bluestem.

Do click on this one, to see TinyTine (on left) get a prong-scrape to his jaw. That HAS to hurt! I just hate the idea of fighting with your head. I would make a lousy whitetail buck. I'd be all, "You two fight it out. I'm gonna see if I can find a doe while y'all are going at it." I understand that young bucks do exactly that, with some success. :)

And click on this one, to see what I mean about the eyes being so vulnerable.  I do love how Lil' Pisser watches so intently. He's picking up pointers, for sure.

 It's hard to believe that TinyTine and Ringo had that tender couple of minutes earlier, as Tiny drives Ringo to the ground. Tiny is long and rather short-legged, but he's got tremendous hindquarters and a lot of strength. He's clearly besting Ringo here. If I had to guess I'd say Lil' Pisser is rooting for Ringo. He looks quite concerned.

 Tiny keeps driving, and Ringo is still down.

Finally, Ringo breaks, and Lil' Pisser leaps backward, too, as the clinch explodes in a defeat for Ringo. 

 I don't care who wins. I'm just glad nobody got hurt. You'll put your EYE out!!

 The two pals became combatants. And not long afterward, they went for Round Three! I couldn't get good shots that round because they were too far down the slope. Clearly, Ringo hadn't had enough.

 I was about to say I don't know how we got so lucky as to have all this fabulous buck action in the meadow. But I give all the credit to my little gal Flag, for stinkin' up the place and bringing them into the ring.
Now I'm curious as all getout to see if Flag turns up with a late fawn in August!

So the story goes, on and on. I love a story that goes on.

photo by Bill Thompson III

This post is dedicated to the memory of my Canon 7D, seen here in use, which probably made more than 250,000 photos for me and you before giving up the ghost on January 24, 2019. It was not performing very well, having increasing trouble seeing and tracking birds in flight, and its low-light performance was flagging. A probably minor issue with the SIM card slot (I couldn't get it in or out!) was simply not worth repairing, given that the camera is pretty much done for. It went to South Africa three times, to Ecuador twice; to Costa Rica four times; it gave us Jemima and Chet and all the beautiful birds and butterflies of Indigo Hill and surrounds. So when I couldn't re-insert the memory card, I knew it was time. I called Sonnie the Canon/Sony Guy at Midwest Photo Exchange, who knows me and what I do, and asked him what I wanted. What a thrill, to recognize his voice the second he picked up the phone! The entire transaction was finished in minutes, though we spent quite awhile catching up on other fronts. Gosh, it's lovely to just cut to the chase, eliminate the research, pick up the phone and ask Sonnie what to buy. My Canon 80D  (I like saying it because it sounds like Canon ADD) camera body arrived the next day (Jan. 25) and I've been having a blast test-driving it. Photos soon to follow. 

Because life without wildlife photography is just breathing, eating, pooping and sleeping. Thank you, 7D, for all the memories. 

Shooting a glorious sunbittern at Villa Lapas, Costa Rica. Trying hard to remember who took this. And it was Amy Girten, my dear love. Thank you. Glad to smoke you out. And yes, I remember dropping my iPhone 4 down over the bank onto rocks, and the sweet guide who retrieved it for me!


This post was a pleasure to read and a treat for the eyes, Julie. The interaction of young deer growing up in each other’s company is much like watching our children playing. Recalling a couple of times that I lingered in the outhouse to watch out the window as deer lingered to clean up spilled birdseed. Knowing full well that when I went back indoors where it was warm, they would bolt. It was fun as I could hear them chewing. My only regret is that back in those days I didn’t have an iPhone in my pocket and thus a camera to use. Have fun with that new camera. We will enjoy seeing what it produces! I remember years back when I discovered your blog. And your photography blew me away! Thank you

Nope - not me. I can't take credit for that shot of you and your 7D in Costa Rica. Never got even a chance to see a sun bittern either, as far as that goes. I think that shot of you must be from the 2015 trip? Hahahaha!

I took a pic of you here in Costa Rica, 2014. Sun bittern was there. You also dropped your phone over the drop off Ithink. I forget the guide who retrieved it for you. These buck shots are so amazing. I would never get out the door to work.

YES @Amy Girten 'twas you!! Thank you for the memory!And thank you for this photo! Caption to photo duly amended. xoxox jz

I remember that camera well, as I watched you take photos in South Africa. The magic is mostly in eye of the photographer, just a little bit in the camera. And as I recall, you dropped your phone out of the Jeep and needed the guide to retrieve it, all under the gaze of the leopard!
Wayne, PA

Nice couple of racks to find later! Thanks for sharing!

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