Note the antler that is missing in the next pair of photos!
The next wintry day!
I finally was able to go for a walk. The first shows them marking their territory. The second show a deer bed, where (I think) a doe and her twins hunkered down overnight. The young 'uns stay with mom for about 18 months. They are about 8 months old, now. Still not quite the size of their momma, but close!
The males mark their territory, urinating on their tarsal gland in their heel. They are still in rutting season somewhat. Except, the dropping of the antler, above, indicates that the season is nearly over and the hormones will settle down. Once they drop their antlers I have no way to tell who is who, aside from each doe. One has a a single fawn, the other twins.
I walked down to the island in the middle of the wetland. Carefully, since I heard some gun fire across the way. There is one huge blood spot. I'm hoping it was from an antler, but I am not sure. There was quite a pool of blood, right down through the 6" of snowfall.
Trying to follow the trail, I realized I still need boots, as much as snowshoes. The wetland isn't frozen yet, and I decided to turn around rather than following my buck's tracks.
Turns out, he still has his 2nd antler, anyway. The blood is likely from his first drop. I can't tell if this is our dominant male, Tigger, or not. Last I saw Tigger, he was hanging out with a younger buck. They do gather in winter in gender-specific winter yards. I'm having trouble figuring out how to manage the settings, but you get the idea!
This morning, there was a doe at the bird feeder. I cleverly fill it in the morning, and by the afternoon it is empty. She looked disappointed!
Here is an example of the puffed out tarsal gland. The females have their own glands, letting the bucks know when they are in the mood for love! (You see, I've been reading my Whitetail Savvy book!) They showed an image of the same thing. The puffy fur allows more scent to get into the air.
Before (Monday, Dec. 28th)
After (Tuesday, Dec. 29th)
Thankfully, hubby can manage the new snowblower, power turning, and hasn't put his back out. Yet...
Funnily enough, I managed to film the goldfish mirror-imaged in the window.