Deer & Deer Hunting

READING THE RUB

Oct. 6, 2012: Dawn arrived cool and overcast, just the right conditions for photographing autumn whitetails. My plan that morning was to set up near a prime clover field in hopes of photographing any deer behavior that might occur. I didn’t have to wait long. A half hour after shooting light, a mature 10-pointer inched his way across the field, eventually working to a patch of goldenrod and staghorn sumac saplings, close to where I was set up.

Every few feet, the buck paused to smell some of the goldenrod stems and blossoms. When he came to the first sumac, he paused and then began rubbing his moist nose up and down the 2-inch sapling, leaving a smear of saliva on the bark. Within seconds, he began to gently nibble on the sumac’s tender bark with his incisor teeth. When two small strips were removed, the big buck started rubbing his antlers on the sapling, slowly at first, but 30 seconds into the rubbing ritual, his pace grew

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