Buck Up!

Rut­ting sea­son brings out the an­i­mal in th­ese male deer

Our Canada - - Critters - by John Mccracken,

Ioften pho­to­graph wildlife. It has been a hobby—and pas­sion— of mine for the past 13 years. A nearby ceme­tery I some­times go to boasts an in­cred­i­ble amount of wildlife. I’ve pho­tographed owls, hawks, ea­gles, ground­hogs, wild tur­keys and more.

I es­pe­cially love pho­tograph­ing deer. Al­though I like cap­tur­ing them all year round, I do like to get to places where deer are in rut sea­son, when the males ex­hibit their dom­i­nance to­wards one an­other as they choose a mate. On this fall day, as th­ese two bucks sparred with each other, it was so in­tense I was sur­prised they both sur­vived!

They stood eye to eye, stomp­ing and push­ing back with great force. I was lucky enough to wit­ness this show of dom­i­nance in the buck world.

Once a mate has been se­lected by the dom­i­nant buck, the oth­ers know to stay away—and a new fam­ily mem­ber is sure to ar­rive by spring or early sum­mer.

The cir­cle of life is com­plete for an­other sea­son and the deer world can re­lax and con­cen­trate on sur­viv­ing an­other long, cold win­ter.

Whether hik­ing in the woods, along the wa­ter or else­where, I love pho­tograph­ing all wildlife—my cam­era is ready for any­thing.

John was sur­prised th­ese bucks sur­vived the in­ten­sity of their bat­tle.

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