Hideous Goiters

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This young buck kept watching the treeline behind him, obviously afraid of larger bucks that must have run him off from a herd of does.
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I was shooting photos from a ground blind, and the buck walked right to me, easily within bow range. Notice how young his face looks. He’s a juvenile, probably a big 1-1/2-year-old, though he might be 2-1/2.
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Finally he heard the click of my camera’s shutter and got alarmed, though he stood his ground and looked for the source of the strange sound.
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Watching and photographing deer is a good way to judge their age. Notice this young buck’s fawn-like face, straight back and thin front shoulders. He’s a young’un.
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This is the treeline where most of the bigger bucks emerge, usually just minutes before the end of legal light. Note the two mature bucks having a brief visual standoff.
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This is the first photo I have of the doe with the enlarged abscess on her chest.
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The light is fading fast, but you can just see the big bulge at the base of her brisket. It was so enlarged that she had trouble even walking.
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The sac would swing back and forth with each step, almost throwing her off balance.
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The young buck on the left is looking at the old doe with a mix of curiosity and revulsion.
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Other than the hideous goiter, the old doe is in pretty good physical shape.
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I briefly considered shooting the impaired doe, but she didn’t appear to be in pain, and I wasn’t sure I wanted to deal with the abscess.
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The abscess was larger than a basketball and appeared to be filled with pus or some sort of liquid.
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As the light fades from the November sky larger bucks start emerging in the open field.
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Look at the more Roman nose of this older buck, the older face structure, and the wider, more developed chest and front shoulders.
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This is a middle-aged deer, probably a 3-1/2-year-old buck. Notice he is filled out more than the juvenile buck, but he has a youngish face and his front shoulders are not well developed.
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His back is starting to get a bit of a sway and his belly is filling out. This is a buck that’s starting to become dominant and probably is accounting for a sizeable percentage of the breeding. Next year he’ll be a dandy.
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Finally, here come the older bucks.
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Here is a stud. Notice his swelled neck, the well-developed musculature of his hind quarters and the shorter, more blunt-nosed facial features? This is a mature buck.