We may not have a lot of fall color yet in the Oklahoma Cross Timbers, but the days are shorter and the cool fronts are beginning to visit us every 7-10 days. The whitetails are noticing the cooler weather, too. I generally attempt to photo deer this time of year when a cool front hits because they are more active. Yesterday’s northern breezes had the
Photos by L. Dillon. Click to enlarge.
bucks thinking of things that haven’t been on their minds for awhile. The bucks were more visible than they have been in months because they want to get familiar with the does before November’s breeding period.
The shortened days trigger the does to enter estrus or ‘the rut’ as the deer hunters say. When the smell of estrus is in the air, the bucks are crazy. They are also much easier to photograph, shoot, or just watch. And more of them collide with cars. Early morning and evening this time of the year see a lot of auto/deer collisions.
I find deer behavior interesting. I saw a nice mature buck on one of my favorite viewing fields yesterday. I haven’t seen a big buck out in the open like that since last fall. He was grazing with about a dozen does and had established his dominance over four younger bucks that were banished to a corner at the rear of the field. Only the strongest, most determined bucks breed and pass on their genes. The young bucks were interested in the does, too, but knew better than to approach the dominant buck.
After a few photographs, I moved on to another area and found 14 does and one small buck that was already intoxicated by the smell of the does. He was chasing one after another and was exhausted. He got to the point he would stand and pant just to get his breath. It’s too early for the does to breed and none of them wanted anything to do with this would-be Romeo. This guy is most likely wasting his time and energy. When the does become acceptable to breeding, a bigger, stronger buck will probably move in and send him packing. That’s just the way whitetail life goes.
The next month is a great time to be outdoors and absolutely the best time of the year to see bucks. See more of my deer photos and post yours at Oklahoma Nature Pics http://www.flickr.com/groups/1941297@N20/pool/