Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Boney crowns

As August transitions into September, whitetail deer antlers transition from concealment within their velvet sheaths to a glorious new crown of bone. The velvet shedding occurrs so rapidly that the event is rarely observed by the general public or hunters and it is even less often photographed. The antler coming out party is commonly a secretive thing that may happen overnight. For this reason, capturing images of the often bloody phenomenon requires dilligence, patience and a bit of luck. The fact that it commonly occurs in dim light or full darkness is additionally frustrating. On occasion one can bag a photo of velvet shedding by placing bait, such as apples, along the forest edge and wait paitiently in a blind as the sun sets.
It is not uncommon for other deer to eat strips of velver hanging from another's antlers and although I've witnessed this on two occasions, low light conditions prevented the camera's sensor from recording it.  This year, we are experiencing evidience of phenemonal antler growth locally as more mature bucks have survived to grow larger bodies and antlers. It should be a great year for hunters and photographers.

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