Here’s one of my favorite images – a whitetail buck photo from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, in Tennessee. Cades Cove in November/December is one of my FAVORITE places, and I’ll miss not being there this year, the 3rd year in a row that I’ve not been there. When I was in Atlanta, in years gone by, I’d look forward every year to heading up to the Cove to photograph the whitetail deer rut. The bucks are in their prime this time of year, and truly a glorious creature. One of the treats of returning each year was to run into the same bucks, year after year, it’s akin to running into old friends. This buck is one of the larger bucks, with a great wide 8 point rack, easily identified by his tiny little brow tines, the shorter ones directly above his ears. He was ever such a placid animal, though he did get a little feisty when other bucks came into his domain.
This buck was definitely the boss in this area. I came to know his territory reasonably well, and had little trouble finding him each year. Just to the west of this spot was the territory of another 8 point buck, whom I never found easy to get close to – a beautiful buck, with a great rack, but I could rarely get close – folks who think all the bucks in Cades Cove are ‘too tame’ never tried to photograph that guy – I’ll post another image of him later. The 2 neighboring bucks were pretty equal in size, and always seemed to respect each other’s territory. I never saw them fight each other, though they were both constantly running other younger, smaller bucks out of the kingdoms. I often found this buck in this little patch of forest, where I really enjoyed making photos of him – trying to capture a nice, clean portrait of a buck in the forest IS such a challenge, and often involves as much time finding the right location/setting as it does finding a deer. I never really liked the photos I got out in the field, as one of my friends said ‘they look like deer on your lawn’, but catching good photos of the bucks in the forest was WAY harder.
With some patience on my part, I was able to show him I meant no harm, and he began to let me get pretty close – usually he would pay me no mind while I photographed him and he paraded around the Cove. I even got to photograph him mating with a doe in the forest one time.
Once I’m done with this book project, Cades Cove in Nov/Dec will DEFINITELY be on my list of places to get back to ASAP. Hopefully this guy will still be around.
Here is a link to my Whitetail Deer Photos page.