Monday, July 11, 2011

The Brute and His Friends: Act I and II

I'm not one to go nuts over "trophy buck" pictures, it's not the reason I got into camera trapping.

But there are a few huge bucks hanging around some of these cameras.

So....keeping with my series of posts on antler growth at one of my study sites (see recent posts here, here and here), I present to you: The Brute and His Friends; Acts I & II.

Act I:

One of these may be The Brute I posted pics of on June 12, 2011.  Regardless, there are four of these sizeable fellows that ambled past the camera on June 20th (all at about the same time!).

The first one goes past pretty fast....this picture is blurry, but you get the gist.

Then, number two.....

Followed closely by number three....

Bringing up the rear is number four, who is alittle bit asymmetrical.

This camera had been in this location for almost exactly a year.  My goal at these sites was to monitor locations for one year and then move the cameras to new spots on the same site for another year.

So it was moved at the beginning of July.


Act II:

We moved all the cameras last week...and we got more pictures of this hulking bachelor herd at two of the new camera locations on-site.

They all have nice antlers...but there's one (The Brute) that continues to out-shine the others in this regard.

I'm not a hunter...but if I were, I'd probably be salivating at these pictures....

They passed by these two cameras at roughly the same time (within an hour of each other).

First, the group moved in front of our new upland deciduous hardwood camera location.  The Bushnell can't handle tree canopy at dusk or dawn very the pictures are in IR even though its not even 7 pm.

These aren't quite as good as the next batch of pics because number of the bucks hang in the background.

Next, some pictures of them from one of our new grassland/old field camera locations.  This is a trail with brushy vegetation on either side...the trail runs in between two grassy openings and the brush pinches the critters to walk right in front of the camera that's placed along the trail.

Unfortunately, alittle something is obscuring part of the lens when this group went by...but you can still see them very clearly.

First is our asymmetrical buddy from the batch of pics at the top of this post.  Antlers are bigger, but still imbalanced.  I wonder if this is the same individual with the weird rack I photographed last fall.  You can't see it in this picture, but his left antler is mostly a single branch....sort of like the individual I called The Onlooker in my post on February 25th, 2011.

That strange antler is a tad more curved than last year...but might be him again.

Then...number two....

Followed closely by the main attraction: The Brute!  Figured I'd give you two shots of that rack.

Bringing up the rear is number four.......

Hopefully, the Brute and his friends will keep on passing by this new camera set from time to time so we can see how they progress.


  1. Definitely a couple of nice ones.

  2. Wow! Great shots! I love seeing bucks in velvet! That last buck is something else. Great captures!


  3. That is a great series of photos. It's so beautiful seeing their big racks covered in velvet. It's interesting that one might have a lifetime antler asymmetry. I wonder what would cause that?

    What's the goal of your study and the rationale for moving a cam after a year? Just curious...

    You asked at my blog about the collar on the mountain lion. The Colorado Div of Wildlife is conducting a "study" in our area and are attempting to collar all of the lions in our population. The idea is to look at how lions behave in populated areas and try to use aversive conditioning to "train" lions who are hanging around human areas too much. In reality, my inside sources say that it's turned into a culling type operation where lions who are too bold near human civilization are killed. I don't know how true that is but a friend of mine quit the study due to "conflicts regarding ethics".

    To be honest, I cheer each time I photograph a lion with no collar, and I don't post their photo for a few days (or I change the date) so that the DOW can't use my blog to track the uncollared lions down. As a biologist, I have mixed feelings but my gut tells me that this is the right thing to do.

  4. Thanks all!

    KB...wanted to monitor the same area for an entire year to address season activity levels.

    Also, I've heard of this program that Colorado DOW has in place. I have my students read/discuss "The Beast in the Garden" in my non-majors wildlife course (along with "Where the Wild Things Were" by David Barron).

    I've yet to hear about any of their findings regarding the aversion conditioning with these lions. Seems like the results of that study would be important.

    Not living in the west, or having much experience with Mountain's hard for me to make up my mind. Although, it would seem to me that any lion that becomes acclimated to people could cause problems for all lions. In other words, if one lion kills or injures a pet dog or a human, it puts a target on all lions for those who don't see wildlife conservation as important.

    Some folks just want a reason to eradicate all large carnivores...and when those carnivores attack a human, it give these folks fuel.

    For example...I posted this in the comments section over at Camera Trapping Campus too. But for folks who may have missed it.....this was a letter to the editor in a newspaper in a metropolitan area nearby. Was sent to me by a buddy at the museum.

    You just can't make this stuff up!

    "Wild coyotes

    July 02, 2011 9:15 PM

    On behalf of all the chickens, guineas, wild turkeys, cats and dogs that have been mauled in my neighborhood and especially the young lady that was attacked in the RDU area last week, I’d like to know who was behind the repopulating of wild coyotes in North Carolina and how much tax money went into the effort. I don’t think Weyerhaeuser is putting out wild bears, foxes, coyotes, etc., on their land for the warm fuzzy feeling in their heart. The whole operation stinks like new money. And just how many people in the Pungo River Basin knows how many pairs of mating rattlesnakes were released there last year. A game warden was heard to say 5,000 pairs and that plans were in the works for this area also.

    Maybe the educated powers that be should stop and ask why our ancestors started shooting coyotes 150 years ago around here to the point of extinction? The answer was our children and our livestock."

    How can you even have a rational conversation with folks like that?

    Regardless, I think mountain lions are cool as heck and I wish i had some to camera trap like you do!!!

    Thanks for reading my blog, KB!