As a wildlife photographer, I’m always looking for unique animal behaviors to capture on camera. During a recent trip to the Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge in Oklahoma, I was able to photograph something I don’t often see – a 6-point buck standing on his hind legs to eat.
Whitetail deer are herbivores, meaning their diet consists entirely of plant foods. They use their sensitive noses to locate tasty greens, but sometimes the best snacks are just out of reach. Rather than moving on, whitetails will stand upright on their back legs to grab a quick bite.
Using their powerful neck muscles, they can extend upwards and snatch leaves and twigs nearly six feet off the ground! While awkward looking, this upright feeding stance allows deer access to branches that shorter animals cannot reach.
Standing on hind legs is not the norm for four-legged foragers. Deer more commonly browse with all feet on the ground. But when competition for food is high, adapting their feeding style allows deer to exploit an untapped niche.
Through observing animal behavior, wildlife photographers like myself get a unique window into the daily lives of wild creatures. Catching a buck balancing on his back legs shows that wildlife is full of surprises! I was thrilled to capture this buck exhibiting such interesting natural foraging behavior in the beautiful setting of the Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge.
The diversity of behaviors in the animal kingdom never ceases to amaze me. I can’t wait to get back out into wild spaces to see what I can photograph next!
- Camera: Canon EOS R5
- Lens: RF100-500 mm F4.5-7.1 L IS USM
- Location: Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge (Oklahoma)
- Date and Time Taken: August 3, 2022 (06:42 A. M.)
- Exposure Mode: Manual
- Aperture: f7.1
- Shutter speed: 1/200
- ISO: 6400 (Auto)
- Focal Length: 500 mm