As a wildlife photographer, I often find myself immersed in breathtaking moments that unfold within the natural world. Today, I want to share with you an extraordinary encounter I had at the Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge in Oklahoma. It involved a magnificent Whitetail Buck in velvet, gracefully nestled amidst towering corn plants. This unexpected spectacle left me in awe of the beauty and resilience of nature.
The Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge is renowned for its diverse range of wildlife and picturesque landscapes. As I drove along the auto tour road, I caught sight of a baby Coyote disappearing into the vast cornfield, piquing my curiosity. Little did I know that this moment would lead to an unforgettable wildlife encounter.
The Whitetail Buck:
Suddenly, like a majestic apparition, a Whitetail Buck materialized before me. Standing tall and proud, its impressive antlers, still covered in velvet, commanded attention. The deer was surrounded by corn plants that reached an astounding height of over 6 feet, creating an enchanting backdrop for the photograph I had the privilege to capture.
Unique Characteristics of Whitetail Deer:
Whitetail Deer (Odocoileus virginianus) are a common sight in North America and are revered for their elegance and adaptability. These graceful creatures are named for the distinctive white underside of their tails, which they flash as a signal to others in their herd. While Whitetail Deer are found in various habitats, they have a particular affinity for forests, grasslands, and agricultural areas where they can find ample food and cover.
During summer, male Whitetail Deer grow a soft layer of skin called velvet over their antlers. This velvet nourishes the antlers, allowing them to grow rapidly. As autumn approaches, the velvet dries up and is shed, revealing the hardened antlers underneath. This period is marked by the iconic rutting season, where male deer engage in fierce battles to establish dominance and win the attention of females.
Corn and Wildlife:
Corn, a staple crop of the Americas, has a unique relationship with wildlife. Its tall stalks provide excellent cover and sustenance for many animals, including Whitetail Deer. The dense foliage offers shelter, while the ears of corn become a vital food source during the autumn and winter months when other forage is scarce. This interplay between corn and wildlife creates a delicate balance, showcasing the intricate connections between agricultural landscapes and the natural world.
The encounter with the Whitetail Buck amidst the towering corn plants was a reminder of the extraordinary beauty that can be found in the most unexpected places. The Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge continues to be a sanctuary for diverse wildlife, offering photographers like myself countless opportunities to capture moments of awe-inspiring wonder.
As a wildlife photographer, it is my privilege to share these glimpses into nature’s grandeur. May this photograph and the story behind it serve as a reminder of the delicate harmony that exists between the wild and cultivated, and the breathtaking encounters that await those who venture into the world of wildlife photography.
- Camera: Canon EOS R5
- Lens: Canon EF 800 mm f/11
- Location: Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge (Oklahoma)
- Date Taken: June 19 – 20, 2021 (8:19 A.M.)
- Aperture: f11
- Shutter speed: 1/1600
- ISO: 2000 (Auto)
- Exposure Mode: Manual
- Exposure Compensation: 0
- Focal Length: 800 mm