About Me

My photo
Native Californian, biologist, wildlife conservation consultant, retired Smithsonian scientist, father of two daughters, grandfather of 4 small primates. INTJ. Believes nature is infinitely more interesting than shopping malls. Born 100 years too late.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Rutting buck

This fellow passed a camera in Marin County.

If you want to read the sprig of willow as a festive indicator of the holidays, it's okay.

To me it shows that he was thrashing vegetation, and advertising his fitness to other bucks and does.

The peak of the rut was back in November. He'll be slowing down and dropping his antlers soon.

Sexy does won't distract him again for many months.


PBurns said...

Nice thickening neck on this fellow too. Nose open, he's ready for action!


randomtruth said...

That's a nice buck. You sure he's not camouflaging himself to sneak by your camera? :)

Meant to ask you - is all the blackness on their forehead from the pheromones they're secreting?

BTW - thanks so much for the link in your sidebar. Didn't expect that. Dunno if I can live up to staying that fresh! Feel free to drop me anytime you need the room.

Happy holidays to you and yours!

Camera Trap Codger said...

Yeah, I don't usually do deer, since there are so many who do. But this guy was a little different -- maybe he's carrying an olive branch. Or it's camo.

I'll have to check about forehead glands. I am sure there are sebum glands there, and it makes sense to have a gland there to leave a little calling card at your thrashing bushes. But I think they usually use the pre-orbital gland for that, esp. when making scrapes. I should know, because my Masters advisor -- Dietland Muller-Schwarze did THE work on pheromones in black-tailed deer.

randomtruth said...

Sorry - I wasn't suggesting other glands - was more wondering if their head-down use of the pre-orbital gland caused the build-up. Maybe it's just the scraping itself? Just seems like they get blacker foreheads this time of year.

Chrissy said...

I like this shot. He does look ready to take on the world. Merry Christmas to you.

Anonymous said...

This is a mulie, correct? I'm sure they are a lot like whitetail, and whitetail definitely have glands around their eyes and carry a musky scent up between the antlers (though whether it comes from there, or is pushed up there from their pre-orbital glands, I don't know, just that I've killed many a white-tail with this same dark head). Keep your eyes peeled for saplings with the bark peeled off of them on one side, and you'll see the other evidence of what this fellow has been doing. They rub their foreheads against the small trees, with the brow tines scratching up the bark and the glands leaving the scent.

cliff said...

Codger, it looked so much like the buck on the bridge that I had to look close to see that the eye guards are on opposite sides.

Very nice blacktail, and there might be something about the forehead hair color. In the spring and early summer it shows up long and light color and then turns darker in the fall.

Kitt said...

"Sexy is as sexy does."

Hey, you can read that both ways!

Nice shot.