These two bucks were bedded next to a doe on a few hundred yards off Ranch Road.
On a return trip from the ranch with a couple friends, we spotted a doe under an oak tree in the shade.
Curious, I pulled over and put the glasses on her. She had two bucks with her. The largest buck was laying in the deepest shade. Surprised?
There was something unusual about the big spike-fork. He was in velvet. A stag?
Probably. When I got home I blew the photo up.
Not only is this buck an old buck with heavy velvet horns. It looks like he is also a cactus buck – a term for a buck with a bunch of small protrusions at the base of the horn. See the mass around the base of his horns? It will grow larger.
He was too far away for certainty. I’ll be watching for him. Maybe I’ll get a closer look.
Here’s a link to some impressive cactus bucks.
Here are a few I found in the archives. You can see that the predominant antler characteristic is forked horn. A four-point buck is unusual.
This is a nice buck. Saw one bigger but didn’t get a photo.
This buck is pretty big. How wide?
This buck watched as I drove by. He was about 50 yards off the road.
These are all California black-tailed deer.
Top left: Cache Creek (My brother, Rob, took this one.). Top Center: Golden Gate Park. Top right: Pebble Beach.
Second row left: Sand trap at Pebble Beach.
Second row up from the bottom on the left is another Golden Gate Park buck.
I believe all the rest were photographed on or near our ranch in Alameda County.
Ran into a big-horned buck a couple weeks ago. Here he is.
He’s got a lot of horn for a local buck.
This palmated buck hid in a creek bottom, but a doe distracted him for a photo. The sun made photographing difficult, but the palmation is clear.
In my recent travels, I spotted this palmated buck following a doe in a creek bottom. Although it was mid day, a couple of my photos showed the palmation, a very rare occurence in mule deer – first one I’ve ever spotted.
Here he is from the opposite side. I tried, but failed in attempts to get a better photo of him.