Thursday, February 9th, 2023
Thursday, February 9th, 2023

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Watching local bucks in Pennsylvania: No monsters, but a pleasing number

(Photo by Joe Strupek)

A summer shower moved through my area of the state late afternoon yesterday (Monday, July 17). There were a few cracks of distant thunder and a steady rain for about a half hour, then it was over.

The sky remained gray but less threatening, and there were breaks of blue sky to the west that would eventually allow a late setting sun to become evident. The air was also a bit cooler than before the rain — conditions I thought to be good for taking a drive and looking for deer in the numerous low-growth farm fields, meadows and open spots that surround my home.

It was only a half-hour jaunt, but there were plenty of whitetails out and about that afforded some satisfying viewing.

The first sighting was in a soybean field. Here, a doe with a single fawn stood still, their eyes fixed on my slow-passing truck.

At another spot, along the distant edge of a field bordering a wood patch, I could make out two mature does along with the backs of three other deer, their heads held low and not visible.

Moving along, I crossed a busy roadway and headed toward more “back country” roads that run beside fields of both crops and meadows.

Along one of these roads, a doe and fawn bolted from a standing corn field, crossed the road about 100 yards from my truck and ran through a soybean field, the fawn just as fast as mother. At the end of this road, a short distance away and where it intersects with another road, I caught sight of a bunch of deer in a meadow feeding.

I drove to within 150 yards of the deer and saw there were 10 of them. Two were fawns, along with four does and four bucks. Two bucks stood together and I quickly snapped a photo of them. (All four bucks had about the same-sized antlers, and similar points as in the photo I took.) Young guys all, healthy in appearance and not terribly alarmed.

I drove on and finished my loop. I saw five more bucks, all young but with developing racks rather than spikes. Of those, four were in the same field, with the final sighting being of one alone crossing a just-harvested field of wheat. There were also seven more does and four fawns.

I’m always hoping to spot a real “wall-hanger” to add to my photo collection, but there were none to be seen last night. Still, the abundance of younger bucks with plentiful does and fawns is always a rewarding spectacle, especially in such a short time over little travel.

The big boys are probably programmed by age to come later to these open places, usually as darkness falls, and a tough act to catch on film. Nonetheless, knowing where smaller bucks are located plus abundant young and females is never a bad thing.

And who knows, hunting those places come all the varied deer seasons may just hold a most enjoyable surprise that a big fellow also lives there.

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