This shows how buck-rubs and smashed branches in the woods come about.
When deer rake the trees with their antlers it's a great time to sneak up on them. Their eyes are closed and the rustling is loud, so they can't see or hear you. If they're still rubbing off their velvet, they're distracted by the itchiness. And, the rustling noise and the shaking of the tree locates the deer for you. Sometimes you can see a tall tree waving and shaking from a distance.
This stag is vine-tangled and flailing like crazy to get unhooked.
He's pulling down a huge load of greenbriars.
You can see finally see his horns here, and the huge load of vines he pulled out of the tree.
These guys are all "shopping" for a good place to rub.
Another shopper.
This huge elk hybrid is just starting to rub this sweet gum sapling.
He's diligently rubbing every nook and cranny of his antlers.
You can start to see the yellow where the bark is stripping off.
The denuded yellow trunk shows clearly in these pictures.
The tree will now die from this damage. The bark is stripped off all around, and the pathways that carry moisture and nourishment up from the roots are gone. The tree can't repair the damage.
Now he's licking the sap from the injured tree.
Here's a different one about to go for the gusto....
You can see the greenbriar vines that he's pulling from the tree against his left shoulder.
I don't think the vines are part of the plan--even though deer do love to eat them. They rub the bark off of a tree trunk, or they smash and strip tree branches.
Now he's thrashing like a mad man. ( I still can't figure how the anlters can be in focus when the face is a total blur.) He ended up walking off with a vine necklace.
You wouldn't want to encounter the antlers of these enormous deer unless it's as a trophy (meaning...dead)! They are true bone, as thick as your arm or leg bone, and as hard...and backed up by the strength of several men...and shortly, by the psychotic aggression of the rut. It's amazing that they can grow a new set each year.


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