The local deer herd wanders through the back yard several times a week. There are three bucks of different sizes, all of which still have their antlers, and six good-sized does. With one exception, they all seem to have come through the winter looking very healthy. The exception looks a bit skinny and has a mangy coat — but will probably survive, since winter seems to have given up its hold here.
This might be the same pair I observed hanging around together last December. They did some friendly sparring, but usually were quite docile around each other.
This is the time of year when bucks lose part or all of their antlers, as a zone of separation between their skull and the antler bone begins to break down and the connection is loosened. The tangle of vegetation the deer wander through might be enough to dislodge a loosened antler, although I have never found any piece of an antler out in the part of the way backyard the deer inhabit.
The other day some workmen interrupted the deer herd’s exploration of my backyard, and the entire herd bolted. Some ran up the hill toward the neighbor’s house, and one buck came galloping up toward my garage on a dead run headed for the front yard. Now there is only a narrow three foot gap between the garage and some lilac bushes, but Mr. Buck must have negotiated the gap quickly because I didn’t even see him after his mad dash. But look what he left behind.