In November of 2013 the camera traps above the house captured photos of a male white-tailed deer with very distinctive antlers – two of the antlers’ largest tines had small tines on their side.
November 2013 –
The buck appeared on camera again in January 2014 – twice in one week. He had an obvious injury high on his left front leg, dragging the leg which seemingly couldn’t bear much weight; presumably he had been hit by a vehicle or wounded by a poacher or during a previous hunting season. Photos of the buck at that time were posted here and here. In looking at those earlier photos of him, it seems that the leg might even have been injured before November 2013.
January 2014 –
The buck then disappeared and we concluded that he hadn’t survived the winter. But, almost a full year later, in February 2015 he reappeared without those distinctive antlers which he had shed. With the cold and snow of winter, and still walking with difficulty, we again felt that he wouldn’t live until spring.
February 2015 –
The camera traps didn’t get any photographs of the buck during the spring and summer this year – they hadn’t gotten spring or summer photos in 2013 or 2014 either. Had he succumbed to the winter? The winter, which was colder with more, and longer lasting snow, on the ground than in recent years.
But then in early November he reappeared again. Now those distinctive antlers are thicker than in previous years – as is normal as bucks reach their prime. Again, there are small secondary tines on his antlers.
November 2015 –
The injured leg is in roughly the same position in each of the photos as he drags it along, a result of the injury. He would have real problems whenever snow accumulates to much depth - how has he survived the winters? Where does the buck spend the warmer months and how far does he travel? How does the buck manage to escape the deer-chasing dogs, the coyotes and the hunters who roam the woodland each fall?