The Creek Buck and I just got a little closer.
When you see a buck one year--and in my case, photograph him--you get to know him a little bit.
When you see him again the next year it's like seeing a friend you haven't seen in a while.
Below is the Creek Buck last year. Perhaps my best buck shot of 2011.
Below is the Creek Buck just last week, looking as handsome as ever.
He grew an extra tine, making him a 9-point. Why on Earth he didn't grow another symmetrical tine on his right side is another great antler mystery.
I love the way the light was streaking through the trees and spotlighting him.
I found him in the fenced-in area of a drainage pond and had a fair amount of time with him because his rear, left leg was injured and he was having a hard time finding a way out through the fence.
He may have been hit by a car, or perhaps took an antler in the leg during a fierce fight. Either way he was hurt, and now I have to worry whether I'll have the joy and privilege of seeing him again in the fall of 2013.
And of course, there are poachers - and for any big buck, a nice rack can be their demise, whether they're rural or urban.