Usually I see bucks on a regular basis throughout the summer and by early September a few strange ones appear. A few settle in and make the area their home range, but most visit only a time or two or else return at widely spaced intervals. This did not happen this year and it was not until Saturday morning that I had the opportunity to photograph a buck and he was very small.
|First Buck Of The Autumn|
The next day brought the sighting of a much larger buck, but I concentrated on taking video and did not succeed in capturing him with the still camera until he returned two mornings later.
|6 Point Buck Does Lip-Curl|
On the morning between the sighting of the small three point and the second sighting of the six-point, a much larger buck appeared briefly and he too did the lip-curl. The photo below is actually a still captured in my video editing program from video footage taken with the Canon T3i and the 100-400mm L lens at 400mm with the 3x crop function engaged (a small spike is also in the photo with him). These bucks were at least 175 yards away, so this serves to illustrate what one can do with the T3i and the 3x crop mode. In my opinion this makes it very usable as a long range video camera for wild, wary, whitetails.
|Eight Point and Spike At Long Range|
Pennsylvania has had antler restrictions for several years and in our area a buck must have three or more points on one antler to be legal. A tine is considered a point if it is at least one inch long from the base to the tip, and the main beam is counted as a point regardless of length. In some areas of the state the animal must have at least four points on one antler.
While some are very upset by antler restrictions, I have noted a marked increase both in antler size and the number of bucks surviving hunting season. Before antler restrictions, it was not common to see bachelor groups of bucks in the summer, but now it is fairly commonplace. To be successful in seeing them; however, one has to be out there at the crack of dawn or as dusk is falling to see them in most cases.
Originally posted at Pennsylvania Wildlife Photographer.