Last summer I stumbled upon a very promising mature buck with an impressive rack (below). He was hanging with another bachelor who was literally and metaphorically out of focus for me; this beta buck's rack didn't have the same grandeur as our big buck in the foreground and consequently I never gave him any thought - until now.
After scores of days in the field, searching for that bigger buck, to this day, I still haven't had a single sighting. Instead, that blurry buck in the background has come to the fore and proven to be the Don Juan of the area. I've run into him about a half dozen times now, and nearly every single time he's been hot on a doe.
This first photo (above) was caught on the run when I saw him hound-dogging a doe group. The photo gave me a chance to study his rack and that's when I realized who he was - and pleased with the way his rack had grown out.
Given the way this buck has been ruling the roost, without any real competition--compounded by a sighting and reports of hunters (there's no hunting allowed in this area)--I'm starting to think the bigger buck got poached. Something I never, ever expected for the public property they live on in the city.
I can just hear the experts chuckling right now thinking he's just a wise and wary old buck, giving me the run around. Well, I'm not so sure. Unless his libido has expired, he should be courting or fighting for one of the many does in the area and making himself known.
I hope he proves me wrong.
In the meantime, this backup has proven to be a decent substitute. I can't complain.