Buck In Velvet

I was on a job site in Washington, DC, off of Foxhall Road and abutting Glover Archbold Park.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Nice Rack!

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