Montana Outdoors

October 28, 2010

Three bucks

Filed under: Animals, Mule deer — Tags: , , — montucky @ 9:46 pm

Although it’s hunting season here in western Montana, these three are perfectly safe inside the National Bison Range.





  1. sorry i left my comment on the wrong picture. regardless, they are all beautiful pictures!


    Comment by kcjewel — October 28, 2010 @ 10:12 pm

    • The first and last are big boys! I’m not prone to spending much time in wildlife refuges, preferring the completely natural environment of the wild country, but it is interesting to see what can develop in a more protected atmosphere. Close looks like these are pretty rare in the wild, too.


      Comment by montucky — October 28, 2010 @ 10:20 pm

  2. I love that there are wildlife refuges. The word buck was not so common to me and now I am guessing if these are reindeers because they have horns?

    Here in Finland reindeers cannot be hunted because Laplanders are growing them. We only hunt elks in fall. Sorry my ignorance.


    Comment by sartenada — October 28, 2010 @ 10:50 pm

    • We use the word “buck” to mean a male deer. Bucks all have horns, but the females (does) do not. These are a species of deer called “Mule deer” because of their very large ears. Mule deer will get up to 275 pounds (or 125 kilograms) in weight. We also have elk here which are much larger, up to 360 kilograms. Male elk are called bulls and some have huge antlers.

      There are wildlife refuges in some places, but there are also very large populations of wild animals throughout the west.

      Our hunting season started a week ago and will continue for another month for both elk and two species of deer. There are also seasons for bear, moose, mountain lion, Big Horn sheep and antelope. Hunting is used here to control the numbers of the large animals and keep them from over-eating the natural supply of food.


      Comment by montucky — October 28, 2010 @ 11:24 pm

  3. Here in the Texas Hill Country our white-tail deer are bountiful to the point of creating unhealthy herds. With all of the natural predators long since all but eliminated (we still have the occasional mountain lion, but far to few for effective herd culling)the population soars. Then, because so many “hunters” are interested only in killing bucks so they can hang the rack on the wall and count coup by the Boone and Crockett scores, the ratio of does to bucks explodes, allowing all bucks to breed. A healthy ratio is 2 does per buck, we run 10-1. The genetic health of the population falls in direct proportion.

    Montucky’s bucks are beautiful and, around here, it is all but never the case that you will spot one so relaxed as the big guy in the third photo. Life on the Bison Refuge is obviously quite good, for that I am most pleased.


    Comment by Dave at collinda — October 29, 2010 @ 8:00 am

    • I’ve read that there are lots of deer out your way. In western Montana there are still predators, but also a pretty healthy deer population. Here, though, there are lots of folks who live in rural areas and who depend a lot on venison and they are very happy when they can get a doe tag, and in some areas they can get two. The alternative to hunter control here is winter starvation during the heavy winters and that isn’t at all pretty. The very harsh winter of 1996 was terrible for the deer.


      Comment by montucky — October 29, 2010 @ 8:10 pm

      • Here it is the drought that serves that gruesome function. Your rural neighbors are wise, venison is an excellent source of meat protein and doe meat is far superior to that of the buck.


        Comment by Dave at collinda — October 30, 2010 @ 8:11 am

  4. Nice sight.


    Comment by Daveabirding — October 29, 2010 @ 8:53 am

    • Yes, it’s good to see them. Hiking off road is not permitted on the Range, but I know there are some huge bucks and also elk on the highest ridges; just can’t get to them!


      Comment by montucky — October 29, 2010 @ 8:12 pm

  5. Exquisite… & oh so handsome!!!


    Comment by Tricia — October 29, 2010 @ 9:34 am

    • They are! Over the many years that I’ve visited the Bison Range, I’m sure I’ve also met their fathers, grandfathers and probably great-grandfathers!


      Comment by montucky — October 29, 2010 @ 8:14 pm

  6. My goodness! How in the living world did you capture these shots so close and in such detail?! That last photo is awesome of the beautiful buck. What an animal!


    Comment by Anna — October 29, 2010 @ 1:24 pm

    • These shots were taken from the road because they don’t allow hiking there except for two short trails. It was late morning and they were lying in sparse brush not far off the road.


      Comment by montucky — October 29, 2010 @ 8:15 pm

  7. They are magnificent! Wow!


    Comment by Barbara — October 29, 2010 @ 2:08 pm

    • They are, and they know it too. They are very proud of those antlers and handle themselves with a regal air about them.


      Comment by montucky — October 29, 2010 @ 8:17 pm

  8. Such regal creatures. I have only seen bucks with horns in field twice.

    We used to have a lot of deer coming out of the woods at night. But, the problem of over population took care of itself. We now have coyotes, and hardly ever see deer.


    Comment by sandy — October 29, 2010 @ 2:40 pm

    • In an area like that there will be cycles. Soon the coyotes will decline in numbers and the deer sill increase. There are lots of coyotes here, but mostly in the valleys. They really aren’t much of a factor in our deer population. With the re-introduction of Gray Wolves, there is more predator effect, but not nearly as much as those who are against the wolves loudly claim. In an area about 30 miles west of here there is a large and very vocal anti-wolf group, including a state senator, who have been screaming very loudly about the, Just two weeks ago though, the wildlife biologist for the Fish and Wildlife Department wrote an article pointing out that the deer and elk harvest by hunters last year was the highest in 57 years, and this year is beginning about the same. I get a lot of criticism by pointing out that most of the local wolf sightings happen late at night in the local bars.

      If I work at it, I can take a hike from my house on a loop of about six miles and count 150 to 200 deer: I’ve done it several times.


      Comment by montucky — October 29, 2010 @ 8:25 pm

  9. They’re beautiful and you’ve really done them justice capturing them in those settings, Terry.

    I just wish the lower one didn’t seem to be telling me that he’s pretending to be a Christmas tree…


    Comment by Val Erde — October 29, 2010 @ 6:43 pm

    • That’s something I really like about the Bison Range, Val. It is a completely natural setting and it’s large enough to have room for deer, elk, sheep bison and antelope as well as some of their predators.

      The last buck is the largest, and he would be pleased to be considered a Christmas tree!


      Comment by montucky — October 29, 2010 @ 8:27 pm

  10. They are 3 lucky bucks to be there. Lovely animals.


    Comment by Candace — October 30, 2010 @ 5:55 pm

    • They are lucky. The Range is a great place for them to grow as big as their species can get. I hope to see them in future years.


      Comment by montucky — October 30, 2010 @ 9:10 pm

  11. Love the third photo, almost as if the buck is in camouflage with the brush.


    Comment by Bo Mackison — November 15, 2010 @ 10:30 pm

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