Weather wise so far, this year has been double dry. The 100+ degree heat and unrelenting sunlight has scorched the landscape and turned everything at ground level a light brownish color. The lack of rain in the spring and summer is a big part of that, too.
Contrary to what you may think, the deer have been active. I see them at all times during the day. There are lots of them, does, fawns and bucks. However, the bucks are mainly young ones. Good looking bucks too, 8-pointers and up with good future antler growth potential.
One particular group of bucks has yet to do what they always do, Im talking about them showing up. Normally the bigger racked bucks keep out of sight while their beginner antlers are in the first stages of growth. Then they appear in mid July and as August rolls by more bigger racked bucks roll on in. And when I see ’em they get their picture taken.
I’ve been feeding deer protein pellets to give them extra protein, vitamins and minerals. The picture below is a wildlife feed called Double Down Deer Feed. I got this at the recommendation of the owner of Coryell Feed & Supply. He started carrying it last year because of its high protein and mineral content and used it before telling customers about it.
The same afternoon after filling my gravity feeder I watched from a ground blind as a few deer grabbed a snack there. And then…
Something good happened. Late in the afternoon I observed two bucks with nice racks walk past my protein feeder. They disappeared in the nearby woods. You can bet I’ll be back in that ground blind tomorrow.
After the sunrise two bucks walked out of the nearby cover and went to the deer pellet feeder. It took a few minutes to get good photo light. Here they are.
I zoomed in a little closer. The buck on the right has a “Y” point growing off its right brow tine. That will make this buck easy to identify. I’m naming him ‘Ybuck’.
The other buck is a younger 8-pointer. And, at least today, they were traveling together.
Both bucks left the area, going north in the direction of a out of the way bedding area. That afternoon the Ybuck walked out of those same woods and his first stop was the protein feeder. He jammed his jowls into the narrow open space and had his way with some protein pellets.
A spotted fawn walked over to Ybuck and sought out pellets that had fallen on the ground.
When Ybuck walked away from the protein rig he paused briefly. I was sure he was on the way for a good days sleep and didn’t have much time but he cooperated with my intentions and gave me a head on photo opportunity.
From this picture we can tell some things about Ybuck. He’s a main frame 8 and it doesn’t look like he will pop additional points. Notice the slightly discolored ends of each antler and his brow tines. They show us that all his points and the main beam are still growing. And, hey, he has at least 5 weeks to add length to his antlers.
Ybuck is looking healthy, his coat is in good shape. His neck is slim but those 100 degree days do that to all the bucks. By October he will have shed his velvet and normal browsing and the additional nutrition of the Double Down will be adding extra weight to him.