ms Deer Antlers vs fencing 3, garden Victoria BC Pacific Northwest

Rutting Season

There is a distinct odour in the air. Not a pleasant one. It reminds me of the smell of a billy goat – – I remember that bouquet (?) from the farm. We kept dairy goats, mostly nannies. Of course, every herd needs a billy.

ws Deer Antlers vs fencing 1
photo by SVSeekins

Our billy (like any billy goat) always emitted an odd scent, but in rutting season it became particularly stinky.
Deer are like that, too.

Today C spots the buck first. The male deer is just exiting the gate at the far end of our garden. I’m not surprised to see him – we could smell him coming. ‘Tis the season.

What does surprise me is his unusual outfit. His antlers are festooned with… something?
It’s hard to tell what…

I pull out the cell phone & carefully try to get closer. Deer–especially bucks– are uppity at this time of year. Sometimes it’s just safer to zoom into a photo after the fact… so here’s a closer look at the same photo:

cu Deer Antlers vs fencing 1
photo by SVSeekins

Crazy, eh? It’s a bit blurry, but it looks like a shovel handle (with no shovel) is hooked over one of his horns!

ms Deer Antlers vs fencing 3
photo by SVSeekins

As he heads across the street, he gets a little closer. It’s still really hard to tell what this mess is all about.

The shovel handle swings from his antlers as he walks. That must feel so awkward… but he isn’t limping or having trouble holding up his head. Why doesn’t he just lower + shake his head until the handle slips off?

ws Deer Antlers vs fencing 2
photo by SVSeekins

He sees me watching, but he doesn’t seem bothered by me – bucks are often cocky that way. I daren’t face him directly – he’d interpret that as a challenge.

I’ll bet he has a headache, but he doesn’t seem fighting mad or even ornery… so, in hopes of getting a better view, I follow him.

He strolls into Friendly Neighbour’s yard & heads to the quiet corner the local herd prefers. I don’t see anything much as he walks away, but finally, he turns a bit to the side.

What is all that extra stuff obscuring his antlers? It doesn’t look like hedge trimmings – which is C’s guess. Bucks are notorious for thrashing antlers along tree trunks and through shrubs.

ws Deer Antlers vs fencing 2
photo by SVSeekins

My best guess is someone installed deer netting along their hedge this spring & the new growth obscured the fine mesh. Perhaps this fellow tried to walk through & was caught up in it? The tangle has trapped the shovel handle where it hangs…

Or maybe that mesh was protecting a tasty vegetable patch that he just couldn’t resist? I’m so curious… What’s your guess?
How did he get so tangled?
& How will he ever free himself from it?

-30-

4 thoughts on “Rutting Season”

  1. CRD animal control is looking for him and another buck also festooned with netting. So if you see him again give them a call.

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