I only took one trip to SNP this summer, which was in late August, just before the velvet was shed. We saw a few spikes and does, but deer were very scarce. The trip was made worthwhile; however, by an encounter with a beautiful buck that had thirteen points if you go by the Boone and Crockett 1" rule, or fourteen if you count any protrusion.
|Superb 13-Point: Canon 5D MK III-Canon 100-400mm L IS II@349mm-ISO 400-1/400 sec. f 6.3|
In the old days I would have returned and attempted to photograph him shedding the velvet, but I stayed home this year and the local bucks were difficult to see. I only filmed a small spike that was in the process of shedding his velvet, but one should not pass up an opportunity just because an animal is young and small. Spikes can make large bucks in later years if they survive. "Once a spike-always a spike" is simply a statement that is not true in many if not most cases.
|Yearling Buck Sheds Velvet: Canon 5D MK III-Canon 100-400mm L IS II@ 300mm-ISO 640-1/320 sec. f 5.0|
|8-Point Buck: Canon 5D MK III-Canon 100-400mm L IS II@300mm-ISO 1000-1/125 sec. f 5.0|
The pre-rut will intensify through October until the full-blown rut erupts in late October or early November.
Originally published at Pennsylvania Wildlife Photographer by Willard Hill.