Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Small Bucks Make Good Photographic Subjects Too!

While hunting magazines thrive on publishing photographs of enormous whitetail bucks, these animals are not what most encounter in the outdoors. It is true that large bucks are found in the wild, but they are extremely difficult to photograph. It is more productive to photograph animals in the national parks where they are more easily seen, or in deer enclosures where the animals are usually given the proper diet to produce large body and rack mass quickly.

Personally, I enjoy seeing the smaller animals too, and I thought this yearling whitetail buck made an interesting subject. He was quite aggressive during the past rut and broke one antler. I would like to see what size of buck he was fighting when this happened.

Inquisitive Young Buck

I feel that there are more large bucks in Pennsylvania since antler restrictions were enacted a few years ago, but they are difficult to see. Mature bucks travel in bachelor groups most of the year. They are sometimes seen in early morning or late evening in the summer when they visit farmer's fields. They are more visible during the rut, when the bucks leave the bachelor groups and roam the countryside in search of does in heat. They are the least wary at this time of year.

If the buck pictured here survives, he will likely disperse from his home range by the end of May and join a bachelor group. He should grow an eight-point rack with a 12" and up inside spread. Many whitetails can grow much greater antlers at the same point in time, but they must have ideal feed and habitat to do so and this is an average first year buck for this area of Pennsylvania.

15 comments:

Leedra said...

I don't always read when visiting blogs, just like the photos. When I visit you I read. I enjoy and learn so much from you. I had researched some on the antlers recently due to lack of knowledge. In the past I have heard hunters going on about the antlers as if that had something to do with age of the buck. When I saw the elk at Cataloochee Cove in GSMNP I learned about the shedding of the antlers each year. Had to hunt to find the info to see if the deer did the same thing. Was new to me, and I was married to a serious hunter for 5 years. I might have just not been listening back then.

Again I really do enjoy the info you give along with the wonderful photos you post.

Sara G said...

Very interesting post and great photo of the "little" buck. They are such awesome creatures!!
Your site is incredible. I learn something everytime I visit.
Take care

Kerri said...

A lovely young buck! Great capture!

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

We don't have deer here only antelope. They difference being that they do not loose their horns in summer. They start growning fom birth and continue throughout their lives. If one breaks, it does not re-grow. Males with one horn do not have much chance of mating with the females. Lovely shot Willard.

DeeMom said...

what beautiful eyes he has

so full of himself it appears, even with the 1/2 antler, well next season it will be better

Ken Conger Photography said...

Good image with informative commentary. The composition with the hale bales works well. Blue Skies.

The Birdlady said...

He must have been a fiesty one! Wonderful shot.

Stacey Huston said...

I whole hartedly agree.. even the little guys and does are photo worthy..looks like this little one got pretty close.. thanks for sharing

Louise said...

Wonderful photo. I love the shadow. And always so much to learn here.

Abraham Lincoln said...

I do like this photograph, Willard. It is a nice shot, as usual and makes me wish I had a deer or two to wander into my backyard.

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KOSTAS said...

Hi Willard
Happy New Year!
I wish for you Health and Peace in the all world!
Great post with great photo!

imac said...

Happy New Year Willard, thats so cute, what a grand shot.

Your EG Tour Guide said...

Wonderful photo of a youngun! Interesting that his one antler is broken. Good thing he'll grow new ones next year.

fishing guy said...

Willard: Wonderful photo of the youngster and he will be at least a 4 or 6 pointer next year.

T and S said...

That's a photogenic face for sure and you caught it in one of those cute poses