Living near the Ouachita National Forest in Arkansas provides me frequent opportunities to observe and photograph amazing wildlife. Recently, I was thrilled to capture images of a beautiful six point whitetail buck that had just shed its velvet on my property.
This buck is a majestic symbol of the great outdoors. Its impressive six point antlers make it stand out among the other local deer. I was fortunate to see it walking through the forest just after it had removed its velvet by rubbing up against trees and brush.
Whitetail bucks shed their velvet every year before mating season. The velvet is soft skin that covers and protects the growing antlers. Once the antlers are fully formed, the bucks rub off this skin to reveal the hard bone underneath. The loss of velvet is a sign that breeding season is approaching.
Having photographed this buck both before and after shedding its velvet, I’m always impressed by the transformation. The velvet-covered antlers appear much lighter in color and almost fuzzy in texture. Seeing the buck’s antlers turn from velvet to bone is an annual reminder that autumn is here.
I feel privileged to observe and document wildlife habits like the shedding of velvet up close. Photographing this six point buck soon after he removed his velvet allowed me to capture a majestic animal in the midst of an important seasonal process. I’m already looking forward to seeing how his antlers grow next year!
- Camera: Canon EOS R5
- Lens: RF100-500 mm F4.5-7.1 L IS USM
- Location: Near The Ouachita National Forest (Arkansas)
- Date and Time Taken: September 8, 2022 (3:03 P. M.)
- Exposure Mode: Manual
- Aperture: f8
- Shutter speed: 1/800
- ISO: 12800 (Auto)
- Exposure Compensation: 0 EV
- Focal Length: 500 mm