As I have said several times in the past, catching pictures of "trophy bucks" is not the reason why I got into camera trapping. However, I have to marvel at the appearance of an individual in the prime of his life....in peak condition.....likely the biggest, baddest SOB on the block.
This particular camera set location was in a fallow grassland adjacent to where we live. It is pinched between agricultural fields on either side...and is sort of a marginally suitable habitat "island" or "fragment"....mostly attractive to game species (deer, pheasant, turkey, etc.). My daughter and I walk around in this area frequently.....I pull her in her wagon....and she picks up turkey feathers and milkweed pods that she finds (or I point out to her). Last week, I took her out there in order to get her out of the house while I looked for a good location for the Cuddeback.....this camera hadn't been in operation since we moved here at the beginning of August, and I missed the color night photos.
I knew there were Coyote, and guessed there were Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes) in the area. I also had a faint hope for a Badger (Taxidea taxus). Deer weren't my goal, although there was lots of deer sign in the area, and I knew I'd get deer pics (or turkey pics). I found a spot where it looked as if the deer had been laying. It was on a hill top, overlooking the ag fields, and the grassy valley below. Great spot to see and smell things if you were a critter (a Coyote, I hoped). I thought perhaps the deer activity and large number of turkey feathers in the immediate vicinity would draw 'yotes to that spot...so I set up the camera.
Not long after we left, a doe comes up the hill.
The next night The Brute shows up......perhaps following her scent.
The camera doesn't seem to bother him so much......
...and he comes back a short while later to get another nose full, before moving on.
Now, scoring bucks is particularly difficult (as any hunter knows). I've never actually scored a deer antler rack in-hand.....but if you look at the Boone and Crockett scoring requirements, you can see exactly what I'm talking about.
I think most hunters would have this officially scored as a "non-typical" buck. If you look at all three pics of this buck, there appear to be several abnormal tines coming off of both the left and right G1 points. There also appear to be some abnormal tines coming off of the G3 and G4 points on the buck's left antler (tines that do not come off of the main beam, but instead arise from a "G" point are considered abnormal, I believe). I can't tell if there are also extra tines coming off of these points on the right antler...but if we assume those are abnormal....all of these would count against one's "score" if this were treated as a "typical" rack. However, if the hunter decides it should be scored as a "non-typical" rack, having many extra tines increases the score (any deer with abnormal tines can...apparently.....be scored as either typical or non-typical and the more abnormal tines, the more it counts against a "typical" score).
Please someone, correct me if I'm wrong.....I'm out of my element with this stuff!
I also don't know how many "point" buck this would be.
My guess would be a 10-pointer with a bunch of extra abnormal tines?
Your thoughts on this are appreciated!