Monday, November 30, 2009
While looking for bucks one rainy morning last week this little critter hopped out onto the dirt road I was traveling and raced my truck for about fifty yards before popping off the side and stopping along a pasture fence line.
The pose looked good but the passenger side window was in the way. I took the shot anyway shooting through the glass.
Sunday, November 29, 2009
Hunting is the tool that wildlife managers use to control the whitetail population. Long ago when wolves, cougars, and other top level predators roamed the woods deer numbers were controlled naturally but that isn’t the case today. Without these predators deer numbers must be controlled otherwise damage to agriculture, vehicle accidents, and damage to the habitat will ensues when deer numbers are allowed to become too high.
Tomorrow will see many happy hunters taking home the venison. It will also see some who would not play by the rules who will take home citations from my friends working for the PGC. Others will have run-ins with landowners over trespass issues.
I have enjoyed the most fantastic whitetail rut with encounters like that I have never had in past years. Much of this I have shared with you here on the pages of Country Captures. With the hunting season opening tomorrow my fall deer photography will effectively draw to a close. It’s been a great year; I hate to see it end but as the old saying goes, all good things must come to an end.
Saturday, November 28, 2009
Sparring between bucks can occur anytime after the velvet has shed from their antlers up until the time that they drop their antlers. Sparring matches begin with the participants approaching in a friendly manner. The bucks typically will gently bump heads and proceeds to where some pressure is applied while they jockey for advantageous angles.
During the sparring match the bucks will stop momentarily to check their surroundings sometimes licking or grooming each other before resuming their friendly match.
A fight between bucks is entirely different. As the two bucks approach one another it is apparent to the observer that a serious encounter is about to ensue. One or both of the bucks will lay his ears back with a threatening expression on his face while circling his opponent . Most times these encounters end with one buck being intimidated and skulking off.
With muscles and sinews straining the combatants jab, parry and thrust using every ounce of their strength to overcome their rival.
Whereas a sparring match can go on for an extended period of time a real fight most times will be extremely violent and of short duration. The end of the fight will come even more suddenly than the beginning. Sometimes it is when one buck looses his balance, other times one simply feels overpowered or is injured. What ever the reason when one gives up he does it quickly, breaking free and fleeing as fast as he can possibly run with the victor in hot pursuit for a short distance.
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Thursday, November 26, 2009
To be successful one must do their best to be setup in good places at the peak times of day with good equipment and a through understanding of how to use it. Select an area with good deer densities and low hunting pressure if possible. Understanding the wariness of the deer population you are working with will help with deciding how much concealment you will need to keep from spooking your subject.
To compound the problem even further one needs to consider backgrounds and lighting angles as well when selecting their shooting position. Even when taking all of the above issues into consideration the weather still is in control of the light.
If you took the time to read all of the above then you understand how excited I was when this fine young whitetail buck posed rim-lit in the warm evening sun. Unexpectedly the storm clouds that had blanketed our area for the last seven day rolled away momentarily as the sun touched the western horizon.
I normally keep the camera set on aperture preferred while shooting wildlife but with the background deeply shadowed I flipped to manual and metered on the grass at the bucks feet to maintain proper exposure on the subject.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Holiday, what holiday? You have my undivided attention NOW!
Happy Thanksgiving Everyone and thanks for all of your visits here at
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
This is the scene from outside the check station today. The foggy conditions present on the mountain were a major topic of discussion among unsuccessful hunters stopping by.
Forty one bears were checked here yesterday and by the time I left the station four had been checked today. The largest recorded here so far this year was a huge 644lb bruin killed in Fulton County on Monday.
Monday, November 23, 2009
Once he chose the site of the scrape he began horning the overhanging branches, chewing on a branch and rubbing his face on it.
Sunday, November 22, 2009
Please take time to visit Support Pa Elk
Saturday, November 21, 2009
In this instance a cooperative young whitetail buck inquisitively watched as I photographed him. Using the 400mm lens at F7.1 the DOF was too shallow to keep both the eyes and nose sharp when using his eyes as the focus point.
Friday, November 20, 2009
When first sighted the buck was standing near his doe. Looking alert, he was keeping a sharp lookout for challenging bucks. During the rut, once the actual breeding has begun, whitetail bucks are often observed exhibiting this behavior. Notice the position of the doe’s tail; a sure sign that she is in estrus and ready for mating.
After standing for some time the doe bolted off across the meadow with the buck in hot pursuit. Panning and firing as the buck passed near my position I didn’t get this image as sharp as I had hoped but it does do a creditable job capturing the fast paced action.
As the morning wore on drawing towards noon the doe lay down amongst some bushes with her protective suitor doing likewise nearby. With the likelihood of more rutting action from this couple quite low , Willard & I shot a few images of the bedded buck before moving on to look for more active subjects.
Thursday, November 19, 2009
At the outset of a recent Shenandoah National Park visit a good whitetail buck situated himself perfectly against the early morning sky.
I have been focusing upon the whitetail rut for the past three weeks. Soon it will pass but the images and memories of another great season will live on.
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Wednesday, November 18, 2009
For those who do not have access or the desire to photograph penned deer (myself included) the national parks offer a great option. With the protection the parks afford, animals can grow to reach their full potential. The deer become accustomed to non-threatening human encounters and become so acclimated that they will act naturally while in close proximity to the photographer. These deer will frequently allow the photographer to move about to obtain the best lighting and background angles.
With all of the advantages these deer offer, getting the great shot is seldom easy. Great poses often last for only a moment so it pays to keep alert with the camera solidly anchored on the tripod and the exposure & ISO set when in close proximity to your subject. What was just a so so scene a moment ago can change in a heartbeat, and only for a heartbeat. Miss that shot and you will have a memory, a memory of the shot that could have been.
I carry some of my very best shots around in my mind, the shots I missed!
Monday, November 16, 2009
Sunday, November 15, 2009
Did the title catch your attention?
Politicians frequently use the term “Summit” for their meetings after which we see no results. Could it be the term is a cover for the “boys” getting together for a good time at the taxpayers expense?
This time it’s no cover, it truly was a “Summit” as I met up with my brother Willard of “Pennsylvania Wildlife Photographer” and Brad Myers of “Brad Myers Photo Blog” for a morning photo shoot on the summit of the Blue Ridge Mountains at the Big Meadows visitor center in beautiful Shenandoah National Park.
There were plenty of Whitetails available but most were busy feeding in anticipation of the arrival of tropical storm Ida. Rutting activity was nearly nonexistent which greatly limited the visibility of the large whitetail bucks that SNP is famous for.
Friday, November 13, 2009
The small herd spooked and I snapped this image of the small buck and his doe friend as they rushed away. With no time to make camera adjustment I took what I could get, panning with the deer as they ran.
Thursday, November 12, 2009
When planning vacation it is impossible to pinpoint the exact dates when the rut will hit its peak as it varies some from year to year but this year I hit it spot on. During the week I have spent two mornings in Shenandoah National Park and the remainder of the time in Pennsylvania. To date this has been the most productive rut I have ever shot. Even with a good collection of images to show for my efforts; I will be out there again in the morning hoping for a bigger buck or better lighting or a better background or any combination of the above.
While shooting with Willard today this fine eight-point was the star attraction. Here he poses in a reverting meadow, pausing for a moment before resuming his frantic chasing of does.
Lip-curling is always one of my favorite buck poses but the best I could get of this fellow was a partial.
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
While slowly driving along Skyline Drive on the lookout for large bucks Andy noticed a couple of young bucks at one of the many overlooks.
Normally I would have passed by these little guys without a second thought but with the picturesque valley below I wheeled into the parking lot hoping to capture a shot with the bucks as a foreground element. Racking the 100-400mm lens to its shortest length, setting the aperture to F9 to gain increased depth of field I began shooting. When this buck came to attention looking out over the vast expanse of the valley below I knew I had captured “The Shot” and was content to fold up the tripod and move on.
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Expecting to find the SNP Whitetails rutting we were somewhat disappointed with the mornings activity as the deer were mostly feeding and for the most part only small bucks were able to be seen.
Soon after photographic light arrived we spotted this young buck feeding beneath an evergreen in the lower end of Big Meadows. When I saw the buck positioned here I knew exactly how I wanted to make the shot. During one of my visits last year I had noticed the potential of this tree silhouetted against the morning sky. That time no deer were present under it boughs, today there was!
Now if only we can get Andy to post some of his shots from the morning :)
Note: This image was made while the sun was still beneath the horizon with the exposure set for the sky. 135mm focal length, f5.6, 1/3200 sec, ISO200.
Monday, November 09, 2009
Sunday, November 08, 2009
Soon a piebald spike hurried into the opening and then abruptly turned and stopped in the shade along the tree line.