A couple of weeks ago, I had the thrill of encountering a Whitetail Doe and her button buck fawn during an early morning photo shoot at the Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge.
It was October 6th and I was up before sunrise to capture the best light. I drove the auto tour road heading south, past the 4-way intersection. After making the S curve, I caught a glimpse of movement at the edge of a recently harvested cornfield. I quickly realized it was a doe and her fawn.
I quietly opened my window and grabbed my camera, trying my best not to startle them. The pair was feeding along the field’s edge, likely searching for any leftover corn kernels. At one point, I noticed the doe trying to chase the button buck away when he got too close to her. The fawn’s tiny button antlers confirmed he was a button buck, probably born earlier this summer.
I snapped a few photos before they slowly walked back into the trees, catching the soft morning light highlighting their summer coats. While I didn’t have much time with them, it was special interacting with these wild deer in their natural habitat.
As a wildlife photographer, I know button bucks usually leave their mothers between 6 and 18 months old. Seeing them together makes me wonder if this button buck will stay with his mother through the winter before dispersing next year. For now, I’m grateful for the brief magical encounter. Capturing images of whitetails in their natural environment is a reward in itself.
I can’t wait to return to Sequoyah and see what other moments I can capture on future morning photo shoots. For me, it’s all about being out in nature and staying ready for when wildlife appears. Moments like this make all the early mornings worth it!
Steve Creek, Wildlife Photographer
- Camera: Canon EOS R7
- Lens: Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS USM
- Location: Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge, Oklahoma
- Date and Time Taken: October 6, 2023 (07:33 A.M.)
- Program Mode: Manual
- Aperture: f/5.6
- Shutter Speed: 1/800 sec
- ISO: 5000 (Auto)
- Exposure Comp: 0
- Focal Length: 500mm