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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This is the first photo I have of the doe with the enlarged abscess on her chest.
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.
The sac would swing back and forth with each step, almost throwing her off balance.
The young buck on the left is looking at the old doe with a mix of curiosity and revulsion.
Other than the hideous goiter, the old doe is in pretty good physical shape.
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.
The abscess was larger than a basketball and appeared to be filled with pus or some sort of liquid.
As the light fades from the November sky larger bucks start emerging in the open field.
Look at the more Roman nose of this older buck, the older face structure, and the wider, more developed chest and front shoulders.
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.
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.
Finally, here come the older bucks.
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.