Buck In Velvet
I was on a job site in Washington, DC, off of Foxhall Road and abutting Glover Archbold Park.
I was taking notes on the performance of a wetland mitigation project, when a buck came ambling through the same forested draw (dell) that I was in.
The whitetail buck gave me one quick glance of acknowledgment and continued to pass through the ephemeral stream valley. I can only surmise that some urbanized deer may not necessarily have the hard-wired fight or flight instinct. I got more of the impression that he was caught not realizing my presence, and wanted to play cool, and save face by not bolting. Maybe fawns and/or doe were nearby and he did not want to overreact? None the less, this is about the closest a deer has walked past me in the wild.
I did not move other than to take pictures, and the buck seemed unfazed by my presence, but continued to walk on through, rather than linger.
This portion of stream valley contained primarily wingstem, then copious amounts of Microstegium,and then minor amounts of bidens, curled dock, wineberry, elephants-foot, smartweed, Ampelopsis and purpletop. The overstory was mature tulip poplar.
I understand that velvet antlers are hot to the touch, and I know that bucks will avoid brushing their developing antlers on branches, so as to protect the sensitive development process.