The annual dance of doe and buck is coming to an end. Richard Moore shows us there are some battered bucks limping thru the final days of chasing does.
The bucks are still on the prowl, but breeding season for Whitetail deer is rapidly winding down. It is the tail end of the annual rut, however there are still a few does coming into late estrus. This buck is keeping an anxious eye on his doe as she calmly grazes.
A young satellite buck lingers a respectful distance from the pair, as he is very interested but unwilling to test the mettle of the more mature buck.
The youthful buck receives an emphatic message as to whose boss, as the dominant buck stretches high into branches to leave his scent at a ritual rub. He then makes a scrape asserting his territory and displaying dominance.
The annual dance of doe and buck takes its toll, as chasing does and defending territory saps a lot of energy and occasionally antlers clash in violent confrontation.
These bucks fought a terrific battle for nearly five minutes before one retreated. Fortunately, neither appeared injured, but sometimes a rival is killed.
This time of year many bucks are limping noticeably from previous brawls, and some like this unfortunate deer have lost an eye to the sharp antler of a combatant.
As this old bruiser strides stiffly along, you can see a deep scar in his shoulder, no doubt inflicted from an earlier conflict.
While bucks make their final rounds during dwindling days of rut, Rio Grande turkeys are barely starting to strut, as their spring breeding season is just around the corner.
And, when it comes to fighting, it is never too early for a turkey brawl.