Nature never fails to surprise us with its heartwarming and extraordinary connections. As a wildlife photographer, I have had the privilege of witnessing some truly magical moments in the wild. Recently, during my visit to the Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge in Oklahoma, I drove upon a pair of Whitetail Deer, a Doe, and a Buck, grooming each other.
An Unbreakable Bond:
When I spotted the Doe and Buck grooming each other, I couldn’t help but wonder about the connection they shared. As I observed them through my camera lens, I couldn’t shake the feeling that they might have been born as twin fawns. Their bond seemed incredibly strong, and it wouldn’t be far-fetched to assume that they had stuck together since birth.
Whitetail Deer, known for their social nature, often form strong familial bonds, especially during their early years. Twin fawns, in particular, are known to stay together longer than other siblings, and this behavior can extend into adulthood. It’s heartening to see that these two individuals have continued to maintain their special connection even as they grew into adults.
One intriguing aspect I noticed during my observation was the Buck’s velvet-covered antlers. The soft, fuzzy velvet gives the antlers a unique appearance, and it serves a crucial purpose. The velvet is rich in blood vessels that supply essential nutrients to the growing antlers. However, as the breeding season approaches, the Bucks’ testosterone levels rise, causing the blood flow to the antlers to decrease. This process ultimately leads to the shedding of the velvet, revealing the hardened antlers beneath.
I couldn’t help but ponder if this transformation would impact the grooming behavior between the Buck and Doe. With the Buck’s antlers becoming less tender and more formidable, it’s possible that the dynamic between them might change. As the rutting season approaches, the Buck’s focus will shift towards establishing dominance and competing for mates, which might influence their interactions.
Encounter at Goss Field:
The enchanting scene of the Whitetail Doe and Buck grooming each other took place in Goss Field, a serene area nestled in the Northwest corner of the Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge. Goss Field is a haven for various wildlife species, offering a bountiful habitat and abundant food sources, making it a perfect spot for observing Whitetail Deer.
During my photography session, I carefully positioned myself on the edge of the auto tour road, ensuring that I didn’t intrude on the natural behavior of these magnificent creatures. Using a bean bag to stabilize my camera and lens, I felt a deep sense of gratitude for being able to witness such a rare and touching moment.
As a wildlife photographer, I’ve had the privilege of capturing breathtaking moments in nature. However, the encounter with the Whitetail Doe and Buck grooming each other at the Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge holds a special place in my heart. Their unbreakable bond and the possibility of changes in their interactions with the approaching season left me in awe of nature’s wonders.
In these challenging times, witnessing such displays of compassion and connection between wild creatures serves as a reminder of the beauty and resilience that surround us. Let us cherish and protect these delicate bonds, ensuring that future generations can also marvel at the wonders of the natural world.
- Camera: Canon EOS R5
- Lens: Canon EF 800 mm f/11
- Location: Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge (Oklahoma)
- Date and Time Taken: August 13, 2021 (7:11 A.M.)
- Exposure Mode: Manual
- Aperture: f11 (Fixed)
- Shutter speed: 1/640
- ISO: 6400 (Auto)
- Exposure Compensation: 0
- Focal Length: 800 mm