Photographing Mule Deer bucks is very easy as they come to my neighborhood each rutting season and are almost as tame as pets. They are the sweetest large animal in the state. Below is Perfect Rack, back for his fifth season. The shot was taken from my bathroom window. I said it was very easy.
Here he is the following year in a neighborhood pond. (He was following a doe.)
This buck with a nice rack was “hit by a car” after hunting season, I was informed.
Here he is a year earlier.
Not Split Ear’s best shot, but it is current. He has returned for his sixth rutting season. (I am not unconvinced that he and Perfect Rack are not at least half brothers. Their faces are quite similar.)
Puffy didn’t return the next year. Literature informs that deer do get gum abrasions from what they eat and occasionally a parasitic worm will move in. Death is not directly attributable to the parasite.
Dominance is established before the bucks arrive in the neighborhood. Most of this behavior is casual sport. The picture below was taken with a cheap game camera when Split Ear was just a 3X4 instead of his current 4X4.
How did this guy get in here? It’s tough being a young buck among giants, particularly when changing from Winter to Summer coat.