I received an interesting email last week. Attached to the message were 3 photos of our Average Joe.
A serendipitously-placed trail camera had taken a picture of him 3 years in a row. How awesome is that!?!?
The first photo was taken on July 28, 2013. You can see that his antlers are inside his years indicating a spread of less than 15 inches and the points are relatively short. And don’t be fooled by the date. Antlers are done growing by July. The calcification process starts in mid-July and is completed by mid-August.
Fast forward to September 2014. He is out of velvet. The angle is not straight on so we can’t see the spread but his points are longer and antler mass looks equal to the previous picture when he was still in velvet.
Another year, another angle. This time Average Joe is seen August 8, 2015. We found him 5 months later with a puncture wound to the pericardium that spelled the end for Buck 12786. So we know that this set of antlers had 17 inch spread, 25.5mm beam diameter, and 8 points.
We certainly don’t get this kind of opportunity very often, if ever! It is obvious that Buck 12786’s last set of antlers were larger than the set observed in the 2013 photo.
Buck 12786 is both average and impressive all at the same time.
-Jeannine Fleegle, biologist
PGC Deer and Elk Section
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