Golden Hour White Tail
My wife and I spent the evening in Poetry Texas and found this young lady looking to pose during the golden hour.
Deer (and other ungulates, like elk) shed their antlers every year, then grow a completely new set. This shedding procedure takes two to three weeks to complete, while the regeneration takes an entire summer to complete — before the cycle starts all over again. Bucks shed their antlers between January and April, depending upon many factors including the animal’s age and the latitude at which it lives, after the mating season concludes.
Antlers are made up of a honeycombed bone-like tissue. The mounting points on the heads of deer from which the antlers grow are called pedicles. The antlers break off (are shed) from these pedicles. Pedicles appear on a young deer's forehead during his first year. The next year, he will develop small shafts, and by year three the first "branch" will appear. As the deer matures, the antlers will lengthen and thicken and often develop additional branches. While in the growth phase, the antlers are covered in a soft membrane referred to as "velvet," a layer of skin that supplies the growing antlers with the nutrients needed to build the bone mass. This velvet contains many substances such as amino acids, minerals, proteins and Growth Factor-1 (a protein hormone similar in molecular structure to insulin).
The antlers will grow rapidly for two to four months. During the summer, higher levels of the male hormone testosterone slow antler growth, and the veins and arteries around the velvet constrict and cut off the blood and nutrient supply to the antlers. The velvet then withers and begins to fall off, a process facilitated by the deer by rubbing his antlers against trees. The whole process is repeated every year for the rest of his life.
As for the reason antlers are shed, it's due to a drop in testosterone following the rut. When a buck's testosterone levels fall, it causes a weakening in the tissue and bone at the antler base (pedicle) to the point where the antlers simply fall off. This process can happen quickly; antlers that are firmly attached one day can weaken and fall off within 24 to 48 hours. A buck in peak physical health will shed his antlers later than a weaker buck, and injured deer often shed their antlers early.
Fortunately for the deer, shedding antlers causes them no discomfort.
I See You
I captured this buck 2 weeks ago on a crisp cool morning in Poetry. He crossed the road in front of me and followed his ladies into the field. He was nice enough to slow down and wait for me to capture this moment.
Red Tail Hawk
Driving around Poetry Texas and found him hanging out in a field. I decided to stick around and let him pose a couple of times for me.
Apparently there are a lot of big bucks roaming around Poetry. This guy was crossing the road in front of me and was nice enough to hang out in the field while I enjoyed his company.
Lesser scaup drake.
Enjoying a morning at White Rock Lake in Dallas
Big Texas Buck
Out and about in Poetry Texas looking for wildlife and came across this big guy in a field. I thought I was looking at a bunch of does through the viewfinder and was pleasantly surprised when he lifted his head out of the brush.
Downtown Dallas Skyline
Another shot with reflections in Downtown Dallas.
I've lived in Texas for 10 years and had never seen any deer. I feel extremely lucky to have found this big buck out on my first day out.
I took this shot early Saturday morning at John Bunker Sands Wetlands. It was a beautiful cold morning.
I'm a 39 year old guy from Chicago. I moved to North Carolina when I was 14 and spent 15 years there before moving to Mesquite Texas in 2007. I've always loved photography but really started to create my own the past two years. I've feel like I've found my calling in life when I'm behind the viewfinder.