I was surprised to be able to photograph two Whitetail Bucks in velvet sparring yesterday (August 07, 2021). This was at the Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge in Oklahoma.
When antlers are covered with velvet, they are extremely vulnerable to injury.
Bucks appear to know that they are carrying something important on their heads, and they proceed with caution throughout the antler development process.
Bruises, cuts, and tears to the velvet can all affect the antler production process.
By now (August), most bucks’ antler growth will be complete, and blood supply to the antlers will be decreasing.
The antlers will harden now.
Because the velvet covering the antlers decreases as blood flow stops, the overall size of the antlers appears to shrink.
Most bucks will remove the velvet from their antlers between late August and mid-September. Here in my area, it is in September.
How I Got The Photo: Bucks In Velvet Sparring
These two Bucks were feeding on soybeans in a field near the Reeve’s Boat Ramp. They were with several more Bucks, Does and a couple of Fawns.
I had my camera resting on a bean bag draped over the open window of my pickup.
- Camera: Canon EOS R5
- Lens: Canon EF 800 mm f/11
- Location: Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge (Oklahoma)
- Date and Time Taken: August 07, 2021 (6:48 A.M.)
- Exposure Mode: Manual
- Aperture: f11 (Fixed)
- Shutter speed: 1/800
- ISO: 25600 (Auto)
- White Balance: Auto
- Metering Mode: Evaluative
- Back-button Focus
- Single Point Continues Auto Focus
- Exposure Compensation: 0
- Focal Length: 800 mm