Stunning Photos of a Young Buck Challenging an Older Buck For Herd Supremacy
The male side of most species has a way to lure the ladies. Some in the bird world exhibit elaborate colors and dances, while others bring food and favors. In the land of white-tail deer, the older buck who has ruled supreme over a territory may face an annual challenge from a younger male. Our wildlife photographer, William Straite, captured these stunning photos as the battle rages between two bucks in Old Forge.
William was in the "Hollywood" area of Old Forge as a younger male challenged the older buck for dominance.
This test of strength lasted more than 40 minutes with only very short pauses before they re-engaged.
The mating season for deer involves more than just the doe being in "heat," it also involves the battle of the bucks in a given territory. And while William captured these two males engaged in battle with a winner determined, it doesn't mean there won't be other challenges from different males within the territory.
A white-tail doe may be in estrus for up to 3 days in a row, and up to half a dozen times in one season if she does not mate. The male process involves sparring with other Bucks in a test of strength and stamina and could involve having to compete with multiple buck during a single rut.
Anyone who has hunted deer can tell you how elusive and cautious they can be, but when engaged in battle the two combatants seem oblivious to their surroundings. William was close enough to the action to get dirt kicked on his clothes and see a piece of one bucks' antlers break.
You could literally hear the impact and the air being forced out during impact, much like to football players. They would them lock horns and push back and forth, one seemed to be winning and then the tide would change and the other would then be forcing the other back.
After 40 minutes the larger Buck proved his dominance and both walked away without physical injuries. William says even more amazing than having a front row seat for the battle was what happened in the end. As the older buck led the herd away, he invited the younger buck to join the group.
They walked out into some brush and they stood side by side eating without any hard feelings, anger, or need to continue on with the fight. They acted like gentleman, put their differences behind them, and set an example that many other species should certainly follow, including us "civilized" human beings.
Check out William's amazing photos below.