The early hunting seasons have begun, so it was time to bring in the last of my camera traps from the Big Woods – a commercial trail camera that takes color photos during the day and infra-red photos at night. It’s been in place for a month, ever since I brought in the “homebrewed” camera trap that had been on a nearby tree. Unfortunately, the infra-red flash takes about a second to produce enough light to give proper exposure. That results in a lot of very blurry pictures – so blurred that sometimes it’s impossible to identify the animal.
But, now that the rut is beginning the older white-tail bucks with large-antlers are showing up again. The camera at this spot hadn’t gotten a picture of a buck with large antlers since June 19. Now that the older bucks have appeared only one young buck with small antlers has shown up in the pictures – the other young bucks have probably been driven off by the mature bucks.
The smallest set of antlers captured on camera in the last month were on this deer –
Those antlers pale in comparison to the antlers worn by this buck: the thickness of his antlers shows that this is an older deer than the 9-point –
Where do they go? Well, there are large areas with really dense patches of chest-high shrubs as well as steep, extremely rocky hillsides throughout the Big Woods; both of those conditions make walking difficult and unpleasant for humans – take it from one who knows. A buck that’s either lucky enough, or has learned to stay in those areas during hunting season has a good chance to live to see another day – and being active primarily at night helps too.
Those of us who hunt with a gun may be frustrated by those big bucks, but those of us who hunt with a camera are glad that those bucks have the ability to survive.