Sunday, December 11, 2011

Where the deer and the deer play

I have a new found love of the video on camera traps.  It is so fun to see behaviors when the critters are kind enough to demonstrate them in front of the camera.

These two young bucks play sparred in front of the camera for about 2 minutes, although they were in the area grazing from about 2:30 a.m.-3 a.m..  As they are leaving, 20 minutes after the first tussle seems to have ended, they start rough housing again near the outside range of the camera.

For me, the best part of getting these two on film, is that I have other photos of them together from earlier this year, but not from this set.  These are the same two deer as in the Odd Odocoileus post from June.  In the video, you can see that one of them is missing the right antler, and the other has distinctive ear injuries, visible in the thumbnail of the image below (although they seem to be healing).  The photos from May and June were taken about a mile away from Location B, through quite a bit of residential development and steep topography.  It is exciting to be able to document part of the range of these individual deer through their physical abnormalities.

The tarsal gland of the deer with both antlers is clearly visible in a few of the videos (one of which is below).  There is no similarly visible patch on the one antlered deer.  Apparently more dominant deer have larger and more active tarsal glands that subordinate deer, and I wonder if that is something we are seeing here.

Lee Rue III, Leonard . The Deer of North America. 1997.

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