I Shot the Luckiest [B]uck in the Area

I believe this is my first post to date on a wildlife topic that was not focused on birds.  This also helps to fulfill my one of my goals in I set for this blog at the beginning of the year.  I was working from home yesterday which allows me to sit out in our kitchen bay window area and observe the wildlife while I parse through hundreds of emails in my inbox.  It gives a nice break as I race to bring some reasonable organization to the flood of emails that heads my way each day.  Around 4:00pm, I looked out and noticed a herd of deer moving across our woods in the back.  By herd I mean over 25 deer.  In the middle of this group was this guy.

Buck

Yes, I deserve all the criticism for this crappy picture.  As soon as I noticed it I went running for the camera which happened to be in another room.   It is very very rare to actually see the bucks around here although when we do, they are generally trophy size.  We live in a heavily populated deer region and close to a large park where they breed like rabbits.  The park is so overrun with them that they opened up a bow and shotgun season inside the park.  This translates to a steady stream of hunters every morning and night lining our roads.  I get a chuckle every time I see the gun racks and the multitude of hunting stickers on the back windows of the trucks…. whose owner is out shooting fish in a barrel.  I don’t have anything personally against hunting (just don’t call it a sport until you arm the deer), but I do not allow hunting on our property so they tend to seek refuge in our yard as the guns start blasting.  So, from mid November through mid January, hunters are out looking for the antler racks.  By some miracle or cleverness on his part, this particular buck made it through.

Buck

Did I mention I was rushing to get the camera “shot” as he moved through the yard, shooting at dusk and through a screen?  Trust me, I wish I had taken better shots also.  I named him “The Luck [B]uck” but I substituted a different letter.

I did witness an interesting interaction between a few other deer – see details after the jump

A couple of the deer found my bird feeders.  There have been plenty of pictures of those on the website already.  In some kind of evil plot, the birds just like throwing the feed on the ground so they can get at whatever particular piece they like best.  This results in a lot of corn being thrown on the ground which the deer love scooping up.  At first there were just two fairly young and jittery deer feasting.

Grazing Deer

They were twitching every time a small noise was hear and were constantly looking around.  Guessing they didn’t like being this close to the house, but hungry enough to risk it.  About 5 or 10 minutes later, another deer started making its way over to them.  Unlike the first two, this one was a little heavier and had a lighter brown coat.  I think the darker coats are called mule deer, but I am not completely positive about that.  As the third deer approached the two, it started slamming his front feet into the ground as hard as she could.  Step after step she did this until she was within 5 feet or so of the other two deer.  As this was going on, they started backing away.  One of them took a number of steps back and the other one definitely retreated, but was still trying to get some of the food.  Once the new deer reached their spot, it started aggressively waving it’s head at them which caused the original deer to back even further away.  I am not sure if there is a pecking order based on fur color or if there was a size factor or what.  Any insight would be greatly appreciated.  Eventually one of the deer came back into the area, but she was very cautious.  I was struggling to get them in to the view area with my 300 lens causing me to skew the picture a little.

Grazing Deer

Eventually the new deer left and the two original ones resumed their grazing.  I might have to do some reading on social interaction of deer.  I am pretty knowledgeable on the habits of wolves, but had not really looked into deer much.  Although, I can’t say that I’ve seen this many deer come through at one time – 25 is a healthy number.  As long as they stay away from the landscaping, they can enjoy themselves.  I’ll post some of the better pictures I have of deer in the future.  The fawns are pretty darn cute when their mom’s bring them out in the open for the first time.

Here are a few other quick shots

More Deer

More Deer

That’s all for now.  I’ll get you some better images sometime soon.  Until then, hopefully that buck will avoid coming out into the roads.  It is extremely dangerous coming through our part of the country after dark which is why I appreciate the seasonal thinning.

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