Dashing through the woods

I’ll get to the “dashing” part next, but first an explanation of what (or who) is doing the dashing.  The “Rut” is in full swing, and that means White-tailed bucks are tracking and chasing does through the woods, occasionally at high speed.  A pair flashed by my porch window as I was sipping morning coffee, and paused just briefly in the neighbor’s yard while a doe snatched a few bites of greenery.

white-tailed deer

I guess this doe must be in estrus, ready to conceive next spring’s fawns, because there were two bucks on her tail (literally).

white-tailed deer

One of the bucks crept up close to her, raising and lowering his head pulling in her scent, and occasionally opening his mouth to stick out his tongue. Must be some good odors wafting through the air this morning.

Later in the morning, I spotted a small buck chasing a doe across a road in one of the local parks, so I followed them down a deer trail through the woods, thinking I might get an action shot.  Five minutes later I  heard loud crashing on the trail behind me, as a buck twice the size of the one I saw earlier headed down the trail right for me.  Big telephoto lens in hand, I jumped behind the nearest tree as the buck went crashing by me — and never got even one shot off.

white-tailed buck stomping

A big buck from a previous foray into the woods — stomping his feet in annoyance at me.

During the rut, White-tailed bucks abandon their previous survival instinct to avoid humans in their single-minded pursuit of females in heat.  A summer’s worth of good foraging allows them to put on lots of muscle and grow a big rack of bony antler material which they will need to fend off competitors for access to the females.

So drive carefully on back roads at this time of year — sex-crazed deer are on the prowl, dashing through woods and field.

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