Bucks of summer sure look different now

Digital Camera
The above photo was taken by a trail camera the writer had placed along the edge of a corn field near one of his hunting spots. He had fastened it to a tree in early July. In early August, this buck flipped the camera’s photo trigger as he stood nearby. (Ron Steffe)

The photo to the right was taken by a trail camera I had placed along the edge of a corn field near one of my hunting spots. I had fastened it to a tree in early July. In early August, this buck flipped the camera’s photo trigger as he stood nearby.

Best I can determine is that he is a seven pointer, and at the moment this photo was taken, he still had time to grow in both body and antler size. Although his rack is relatively thin, and he is not what one could term “enormous,” I believe he has good generic makeup and is well fed. He is most likely a two-and-a-half-year-old whitetail.

With November nearly upon us, I’m certain he looks a lot different now than he did in early August (I wish I had a current photo of him, but I pulled that camera soon after he appeared on the memory card).

As the rut approaches, his appearance has changed. His hair has transformed into his winter coat, which is thicker, and a darker brown. He has by now, rubbed his antlers clean on saplings, and small and larger tree trunks.

His neck has probably swollen, since he is old enough to show this trait that mature males in deer woods possess when it comes time to spread their genes with obliging does. He most likely has encountered other bucks near his size, or a bit smaller, and engaged in some pushing and shoving with those other males.

These sparring bouts are usually not too serious, but they often result in broken antlers and some facial and neck scars that may remain within for the rest of his life. He hasn’t challenged the bigger bucks in his neighborhood, well knowing that they would be matchups he would lose.

As different scents of the breeding season begin filling the woods, he is moving more and more than he normally would, sniffing every spot where urine and gland secretions have been deposited by other deer.

With little rest and a depressed appetite, he may have lost some weight. But most likely not being the dominant male in the area, he’ll not be near as stressed as those big guys.

At some point an actual breeding-ready doe may come near him, being chased by other and larger males. If luck is on his side, those other bucks may begin a fight, and he’ll be able to perform a quick deposit of his sperm into that female before the others’ battle has ended.

After all, that’s why this change in his appearance, his increase in roving and rise in energy spent, has led to what his real purpose for his transformation is about, to be one of those who’s genes are part of the next generation of wild whitetails.

Categories: Bloggers on Hunting, Pennsylvania – Ron Steffe, Whitetail Deer

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