Whitetails are gregarious animals preferring to spend their time in the company of others. Socializing takes many forms and included some good natured roughhousing. I watched and photographed this pair of bucks for a considerable time while the smaller buck harassed the larger in an obvious attempt to gain his attention.
Finally the big guy had had enough!
And rose up on his hind legs with flailing front feet to land a blow
The smaller buck, reacting quickly, received only a glancing blow to his flank.
The moment of hostility passed quickly. In less than five minutes the bucks were making up, their friendship still obviously intact, the brief spat quickly becoming a distant memory.
This last image is a type of deer image that you will probably never see in any hunting publication. Images of deer feeding, fighting, or just about anything else may be found but images depicting tender moments between animals will never make the grade. Is it because that images of this type may make some less inclined to kill an animal that exhibits feeling? I really don't know the answer to that question but I do know better than to waste my time submitting images of this type to any publication associated with the hunting industry.
These images were captured Saturday during a morning visit to Shenandoah National Park. The stormy weather was forecast to move out during the night however upon our arrival before dawn the sky was cloudy with intermittent sprinkles. Fog banks and light rain moved through our area as the sky began clearing shortly after dawn. The mixture of sun, clouds, and fog kept the light from becoming harsh to quickly and made for and excellent morning of whitetail photography.
SNP supports a large protected whitetail herd that is acclimated to humans. Since the deer are not concerned about human presence one is able to observe and photograph natural whitetail behaviour; something that is extremely difficult at best when working with a hunted herd.