Some tasty morsel in front of him, this velvet antlered Whitetail buck considers the possibilities. Boy I wish we had this grass now. Fully headed, green, what a concept. Not any of this around here now except the deer eating straw with few heads. Yuccas are still providing some flowers locally. My deer may move off their normal range because of the crushed grass from the 2-3 inch hail storm for 1/2 an hour we had a few weeks ago. That plus drought plus grasshoppers have changed the landscape a tad this summer. You can tell it’s a white tail buck as the facial patterns are all different than a mule deer and the ears don’t look like a hairy mules ears. Whitetail are way more gracile than Mule Deer.
This wash drains about 300 acres (1/2 square mile) of ranchland. I believe water has recently up to his knees running in this based on high water marks in the gully. Flash floods are a real thing with all these Mesocyclones lately floating around the high prairie lands. The Wyotana borderlands east of here get’s it worse than we do. After all, there is a map location called Lightning Flats. It got it’s name for a good reason. While Tampa Florida may hold the title for most Lightning ever, Lightning Flats will give it a run on a good day. 😄
Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming / Montana borderlands (Wyotana) (Note: Game Trail Camera Capture)
This is a Game Trail Camera capture from one of my favorite locations. Several game trails all lead to this choke point. Everybody has to climb the hill to get out of the wash / deep gully system here. The trail is well marked and well beaten for a backcountry path.
A young Whitetail deer Buck stopped to investigate a morsel just below him when he triggered the camera. He could have stepped about another two feet higher up on the slope though lol. His coat is shedding seriously with the suble lighter tan thick winter coat falling away. The leaves the more reddish tan undercoat. White tail have NO black on their tail. This is the easiest way to tell the from Mule Deer. They are entirely different animals. I know the difference well and occasionally mis-identify a species.
The knobs he is sprouting on his forehead will develop into full fledged antlers within the summer. The skin coating is termed “Velvet”. This supplies the growing bone of the antler a rich supply of blood to nourish such rapid growth. This was taken in Early May. I often go months without revisiting camera remote to anywhere lol. I occasionally find one I forgot about too but fortunately I usually think the same way twice about location. After all the only real control you have over your game trail automatic camera is WHERE you put it.
Taken closely within the group as it passed next to a well planted quality Game Trail Camera. I hadn’t checked this particular camera for a few months. Having said that, this capture is fairly recent in early June. The Whitetail here all have fat cheeks full of things to chew on in this timeline. There are other captures of course but this one best suited me. I like images looking over the shoulder of a close animal to others in the group. It’s very tricky to do with a telephoto but this Game trail camera did a great job of it for me lol. I love this shot
Whitetail are not easy to approach in my experience. I’ve never been able to penetrate a Whitetail herd with my rig. (work right in the middle of a deer herd surrounded by animals) I have been surrounded by a herd of Mule Deer Several times working them from all angles up close and personal with telephotos at 20 feet. So I’m happy to get inside this herd if only with an automatic camera. This is as close to a Whitetail deers Point of View (POV) as you can get I’m fairly sure.
This deep forested wash we find ourselves in here drains about 300 acres. It can get flashy floods rarely. Generally I would term this gully LUSH based on local standards. The soil is rich in the bottoms here. Mineral grains of sand from the Cretaceous River Deposits eroded down from the hills plus a bit of wind blown glacial Loess (Google word for the day).
The Beautiful White Tail Buck was walking down a steep trail 10 feet from where I planted a quality 30 megapixel Game Camera. For some reason this camera take wonderful images in this forested gully time and time again. I wouldn’t move it for anything lol. It has given me more fine images than any other game trail camera in my arsenal. I looked through over 9000 images to find the several dozen good images in the timeline. Several thousand were of grass and trees blowing in the winds up here. Even in a sheltered treed gully, 30 mph sustained winds for hours can rack up several shots a minute lolol. Moving vegetation will trigger the game camera.
This location has seen Foxes, Coyotes, Mule Deer, Whitetail as here, skunks, porcupine, raccoons and Bobcats captured on the automatically triggered cameras. I currently am running a network of 29 cameras which I maintain and check periodically. “Periodically” being the key word as it might take me up to 6 months to get back to a camera at times. This one was out there for two months without checking it. The grass grew during the time I planted the camera and the time this image was taken lol. This trail cam has been the best performer of the group. Location, Location, Location is the key in Game Trail Cameras. It’s one of the few things you have any control of with the automatic system.
A mere 10 months ago, this Mule Deer Buck was crossing the road “to get to the other side” (according to “Sneaky Pete” the windmill). The Sweet Clover was in bloom, the bees were filling their hives with honey from it. The 4 year old buck was just starting to grow his antlers which already have a 5×5 configuration.
I know this buck as “Tweeddle Dee” because I’ve seen him do a Tweedle Dumb thing or two over the last few years lol. He also has perfect ears meaning he’s a lover not a fighter. I’ve been watching this boy grow up for the forth year now. He’s almost respectable now, has grown and generally is very receptive to posing.
I’ve been “working around” this guy for several years now and he is pretty tolerant of me. I have to be slow in what I do with my vehicles as with any wild animal. IT’s all about getting your rig to act like a grazing animal. Stutter stop, start move 10 feet, “graze a while” move some more. You have to wait to move until their attention span lessens of their awareness of you. They go back to grazing. Wait a few seconds and move another 20 feet. Take your time.
I have worked my way into the middle of several different wild deer herds precisely doing the process above. You can’t just drive up in the middle of a group expecting them not to scatter like the wind. . They would misconstrue the quick approach as a hostile act. Only the other grazers can integrate into a deer herd. So there is an art to getting really close to any wild animal but I do stay in my rig. Getting out is a bad idea across the board. Making them used to the human form is counterproductive to their reproductive processes. I get them used to my vehicles. I never get out or push them ever. If I scared them routinely, it would be a hard thing to approach the next time.
Merging together silhouettes will if the lighting is conducive for such. One of these guys is a “butt head” it seems…. Your choice as to which one 😜
The Alpenglow from the suspended Atmospheric Ice was the backdrop for this evenings stage play. As I move from one photographic opportunity to another working the light, I see many things. Some are worthy of your time so I point my photon capture boxes in that direction trapping a few.
I watched these guys watch the setting sun between my main job of taking snap shots of the actual sunset that night lol. Deer definitely check out the sunset. I’ve seen them do it. The evening progressed from blinding bright sunset to the right saturated tones of the twilight. The “boys” got back to the main business of finding tasty morsels on the hillside.
These two Spring antler growing bucks have their bony horns covered in “Velvet”. This time of year (about a month from now) is prime antler growth time. I actually have a smaller “Stag” buck up here that still has it’s antlers. HE’s an oddball though. Everyone else shed theirs in January as did these two. The grow back very quickly with a blood vessel rich “Velvet” skin nourishing the growing bone from the buttons on their skull cap.
Yes there is actually a small cave passing all the way under that boulder. One can crawl in there with all the other creepy things that might live in such a place if you had to get out of the weather. (from the other side lol). That hole is the back window with a view over my shoulder…
Face to Face Stare Down …. 18in square aspect, ….. It’s a game trail camera capture again.👀📸
I’ve kept a couple of game trail cameras pointing at this spot for well over a year now. I discovered this is a major game intersection point where game either goes under or over the fence. It is the local pass between the grazing pasture and the local water trough. We have a solar panel driven well about 300 yards down drainage from this point. For generations animals have been stopping here for a variety of reasons. Birds stop here too as the fence line is the first/last place to land above the water. The topography guides the flow of the animals here.
I’m thinking this is a little close for proper “Social Distancing these days. The play remains the same but the actors have changed .
Satire for a paragraph or 3 : ….
The local Pronghorn population is known for their awareness of world events. Their network is face to face of course. I don’t translate Pronghorn very well yet. Or as the Commercial says, I’m OK at reading Pronghorn lips. . I translate their written language much better as that is very straight forward. Usually forward in the direction they were moving when they left the cuniform like tracks in the ground. What if they are writing a story as they run along. Oh wait….they are :
Some Pronhorns was cajoled by “Sneaky. So he probably heard news from “Sneaky Pete” the windmill. Passing it on here in this capture “Down Yonder By The Fence Line”.
“Sneaky Pete’s” the windmill’s role up here is complex but generally his role is one of an information broker. My side of the “Deal”. I give him publicity and enable his photobombing of my landscapesSituated with a world class view, “Sneaky” knows all that happened around him. who originally heard it from the chickens that eavesdrop under my radio shacks. There is a whole network of connected creatures up here in Wyotana. For giving “Sneaky Pete” so much time, he sets up stuff like this for me in return. 🤔😜
This image has so much going on. The colors that day were popping with everything being a little wet from a rain an hour before. The flat light making what color is present, pop. Click!
This Buck Mule Deer was hanging out with a couple of gals mid-summer 2019 totally enthused about the Yucca fruit. Here mouth open picking on best way he can. Tongue lolling.
I’m thinking he was unaware he was standing on a weathering boulder of Hell Creek/Lance Formation Sandstone cropping out of the hillside. If I could only train the deer to look for dinosaur fossils. I’d feed them in exchange for information where to look. I mean they always have their eyes on the ground anyway…. Maybe “Sneaky Pete” can arrange a deal ? 😜😜👀📸
The density of Yucca here in the highlands seems to be sufficient to get these guys fat and sassy by the end of the summer. They eat the heck out of the fruit and the flowering parts of the Yucca plant. Yucca is a well defended plant and the primary reason I forbid guests from going into the backcountry without full full leggings on as a Yucca will plumb stick you through jeans let alone shorts lol. It also traps wind blown snow into huge deep drifts around patches of it. If you see a Yucca patch driving in the backcountry, your best served steering around it. The drifts totally supply those desert adapted plants an advantage of water in a semi-arid almost desert we live on. (We get 14 inches of precipitation average per year, a desert has 10 inches or less precipitation a year.
The very small piece of one Bliss Ranch Rock Garden shown here, thins found by a life long hunter of “treasures”. . Things collected off the ranch for my yard living on the Montana/Wyoming border. Two decades I’ve been riding around on this ranch very systematically searching the land for Dinosaur Fossils. I am an opportunist that will pick up about anything not a piece of wood and I have a few of those lolol. I generally built pretty big rock gardens full of ranch finds as needed. Lots of outdoor dinosaur fossils about even. Petrified wood, minerals from Wyoming are all around the place.
Found deep in the backcountry this hammer was.. It appears blacksmith made from a piece of good rock pick steel. This was very well mated to a standard piece of galvanized pipe. Probably 1950’s or so. . Cattle skulls are ubiquitous in deep ranch country as we live in. As we discover them, deer skulls/antlers are located then put in a rock garden.
. It’s a common western ranch tradition to collect deer bone or skulls.
I tend to get thematic with rock gardens. Some of them are quite big, full of river cobbles imported by semi truck from the Big Horn Mountains. A quarry near Buffalo Wyoming is the source of the cobbles in the garden. I’ve found quite a bit of Epidote in this. A beautiful green semi-precious minteral. Wonderful for making cabochons from. I love finding nice material by the semi load. I collect petrified wood in Gillette in various parking lots all the time. City Cobble Collecting is ALMOST as good as the treasures found on this ranch lol.
Deer Watching the Sunset has caught a father (adopted) and son moment as the sun was setting into the grass. (amazing it didn’t catch on fire 😀). This is yet another deer filter in front of my lens which reduced light considerably. Any glass filter in front of my lens would have messed this up. 👀.
Photography is something I do every day in deer populated backcountry . I don’t get a lot of chances to get the sun to cooperate AND the deer to be tolerant of my machinations by my Jeep Grand Cherokee. Just 3 or 4 times a year based on history.
I was crashing over sage and high grass to get in position slowly but VERY noisily. (the sage is fine and it’s my private deeded land) Essentially I circled the whole herd over about 5 minutes to get the sun behind them. They see my Jeep all year several times daily so they are not that concerned. It never chases them. I must point out that I have a rock stuck in my right front caliper that is squeeking to all heck. I’m sure they didn’t know I was there… 🤣
There were about 20 deer in this group, one buck and not a huge one. His neck is getting big from the season though. The really big boys haven’t found this group of does yet as rut has yet to start to any degree. Some of the boys are sparring but not in earnest yet. December will be hot and heavy in mule deer country though in spite of the cold Wyoming weather which is certainly incoming lolol.
At distance, I was confused knowing the ground I was on quite well. I literally saw an out of place bush in a place it didn’t belong. Caught my attention it did. I only have one good eye. The one good eye I have isn’t great so I thought I was seeing things lol. A somewhat closer trip over to the two bedded and resting 3.5 and 2.5 year old boys seemed prudent. Eventually it made perfect photographic sense … Glasses get in my way with cameras. Usually safety glasses for open ATV’s are bad enough but necessary.
These two have seen me before hundreds of times. I’ve never pressured them by getting out of my vehicles. (That they could see)…I’ve taken some shots under and around my rigs before with the deer a stone throw on the other side. They are used to my smell and noise by now lolol. I have literally been able to drive among the wild deer out on the grasslands numerous times before.
I have accumulated many many good facial images of various deer doing natural behaviors. I’ve never pushed deer unless they were inside our deer resistant electric fenced in yard around our homestead. It’s a big fence lol. We had a couple of deer walk through an open gate today . They went out the same way they came in as we quickly knew they were there. They didn’t like my running about on a 4 wheeler looking like a threat. We don’t have our gates open too much but were expecting someone. Quick as we think they smell the few dozen apples that are under the snow now fermenting rich in sugars.
A frosty response from the Doe to the Bucks Advances. Hunting season is wrapping down and Mule Deer Rutting season will be on us shortly.. But not just yet lolol. Once the hunters leave, the deer will settle down and think about being seen instead of hiding in the hollows while the noisy stinky humans tramp around looking for the rare deaf noseless deer to shoot. Occasionally the two cross paths though which is as it should be.🤣
I think this buck was making a statement about what He thinks about hunting season.
This is a big boy with big wide beams . A mule deer’s ears are about 22 inches across….. 😲 His antlers were still in velvet late summer for this shot. The “Velvet” Skin over the growing antler supplies the antler with blood supply, then they shed it in a few days of rubbing it off on anything around they can rub it on.
He’s a fighter, got a notch in his ear from a battle…
It was still pretty green back then, mid-80’s, no snow in the hollows as now lol. Ah for the good and bad points of summer. Remember allergies?….
Location: Somewhere within 10 miles of the Bliss Dinosaur Ranch. (That narrows it down)😜
A couple of deer (bucks) are a tad seedy hanging out on this corner of the “strip” here on ridge one. I put quality game trail cameras out, I’m currently running 26 or them…. I keep a pretty close eye on what’s going on around here. These guys are clearly up to no good about 3AM that morning.
A Stags View of the Sunset or is he looking at me???
Got this Stagy Buck to sit for me with the sun as a backdrop…. The parallel ridge was about 1/4 mile out. I work this ridge almost every night now as a small herd walks it every night at sunset and I can drive there and not be seen… :). I will get more like this (I got 4 last year).
If this is a double post, I am sorry, I’m trying to get these ducks lined up in a row…..