While driving through the Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge in eastern Oklahoma back in June 2014, I almost missed spotting a hidden White-tailed Buck bedded down in some thick vegetation. It was only on my return trip down the same road that its impressive rack caught my eye.
This buck was in full velvet, with soft, velvety antlers that would harden up later in the summer. Even though it was midday, the dense foliage provided nice shady cover for the deer. I felt fortunate to see it before it sensed my presence.
The lighting was quite poor, as the buck was totally shaded. I had to crank my camera’s ISO up high to capture any detail in the image. But I think the photo gives a good representation of how well whitetails can conceal themselves and blend into their surroundings. No wonder I drove right by without noticing on my first pass!
After snapping a few photos, I quietly drove away to let the buck remain undisturbed in its cool, shaded spot. The deer never bounded away while I was there.
The summer of 2014 was an excellent year for spotting bucks at the Sequoyah NWR. For whatever reason, they were hanging out closer to the roadsides than usual, allowing for some great photographic opportunities. I used a bean bag rested on my truck’s open window to stabilize my camera and lens as I captured images of this sly buck.
Whitetails are amazing creatures, and getting glimpses of them in their natural habitat is always a treat for me as a wildlife photographer. I feel fortunate to have snapped a photo of this well-hidden buck before moving on and leaving it in peace. Just another memorable encounter with wild deer in the Sooner State!
Steve Creek, Wildlife Photographer
- Camera: Canon EOS 7D
- Lens: Canon EF 100-400 mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM
- Location: Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge (Oklahoma)
- Date Taken: June 26, 2014
- Aperture Priority
- Aperture: f5.6
- Shutter speed: 1/250 sec. (as determined by the camera)
- ISO: 3200
- Exposure Compensation: 0 EV
- Focal Length: 400 mm