Buck Fever is what nature photography is all about. You patiently wait in a camouflaged spot for hours, anticipating the chance to see a nice buck. There are so many variables to consider. If the wind is out of the south, the deer will be very wary. The sun can make or break a good image. If you plan ahead you can position yourself to use the sun to your advantage. But even if the weather cooperates there’s no guarantee a buck will even pass by your vantage point.
On this day, December 26, 2011, the weather did cooperate and this guy came strutting out from the brush and cautiously crossed an open field and paused right in front of my position. At this moment is when buck fever wants to take over your body. Your mind is saying “Wow what a nice buck!” and your body is saying “I can’t stay frozen in this awkward position much longer. My foot is getting a cramp, my arms are getting tired and my nose needs itching.” Somehow the buck did not notice. He did see me. Or at least he saw something that was a little out of the ordinary from his usual world. But his tail didn’t raise in alarm. Once that happens, the next thing you see is that white flag bouncing in the distance before quickly disappearing. The click from the camera shutter can be heard from over a hundred yards away. Deer have excellent hearing But the buck had other things on his mind.
Does buck fever win out and you spook the deer or do you control your excitement and get a few good images? On this day the fever was contained. The buck paused for just a second before continuing his patrol looking for does and any other bucks that want to challenge his dominance.
Buck Fever is one of my favorite images from 2011 and will be featured in the upcoming art exhibit at Magale Library, Centenary College, Shreveport, Louisiana starting June 1st and continuing throughout the summer during regular library hours. The exhibit contains images taken on the Red River National Wildlife Refuge in northwest Louisiana. Sponsored by the non-profit Friends of Red River National Wildlife Refuge, the exhibit shows examples of wildlife and scenery that may be found on the Refuge. The Friends group supports the Refuge in many ways, from running a bookstore at the Headquarters Visitor Center to performing community outreach projects such as this photo exhibit.
Enjoy the photo exhibit and take a little time to visit and support the only National Wildlife Refuge in northwest Louisiana. Headquarters Unit is located near the Jimmie Davis bridge on the Bossier City side. Take Sunflower Road to the rock road where you will see a large Refuge sign. Follow the other signs along the rock road and you’ll end up at the Visitor Center. There are miles of trails, a beautiful oxbow lake and a brand new multi-million dollar (and very nice) Visitor Center for your enjoyment.