For those of you not familiar with the term, the "rut" is the time of year when our quiet little Black Tailed Deer mate. The male deer known as "bucks" fight among themselves to establish a clear understanding among themselves as to who has the right to breed with the "does". Some fights are ceremonial and over quickly. Some are bloody, violent and can end in death.
Yesterday I was passing through an area where last year I took this photo.
An off ramp on the Interstate offers an ideal vantage point for these two bucks to rest and chew their cud. As I approached this hiding spot I notice a deer walking along a dirt road.
From a distance it was easy to see he was limping and something was wrong with his antlers.
Sometimes when a deers antlers are growing during the spring and summer they might injure or damage one while it is still in the soft velvety stage of growth.
This poor guy had grown a healthy pair of matching antlers but was in a fight with a bigger stronger buck just a short time before I stumbled upon him.
During the fight his left antler was broken off. Notice the hair on his neck. Each one of rough spots is where a larger buck gored him with its larger and heavier antlers.
The fight was out of this deer as he allowed me to take these pictures with an IPhone. He will be bigger and have shiny new antlers next year. But he is out of the competition for this year. No cute doe would date a buck with a broken antler.
One day he may sport a monstrous rack like this guy!
More then likely he'll just get this big.
Next year there will be payback. Right now, he's just looking for a place to go lick his wounds.