The Challenger

Dave Sandford


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The Challenger

London, Ontario.

(November 2020) About a week ago we had our 2nd major snowfall in our region. It snowed pretty consistently for a solid 15 hours. I set out to my local forest early morning before sun up in hopes of some quality encounters with bucks like the one you see here.
Even without seeing any wildlife the morning had been pretty spectacular. There’s something amazing about being the first one to lay down a set of tracks in the snow. Everything around you looks so pristine and magical. That being said, I was fortunate enough to have plenty of buck encounters on this morning. This fella here was the 6th on the morning. I also had one doe. She was the centre of attention & the reason I saw as many bucks as I did. This 6th & final buck I saw on the day was the 5th in a line of defeated bucks. The doe mentioned above had a rather large male escort with her. . Well.. with her is a term I’ll use loosely. He was certainly close by & he was making it clear that he had his eye on her (I say eye, as he had a badly injured right eye) The previous 4 bucks didn’t make it too close before he would charge and they would hightail it out of the area. This guy here was the only one up for a challenge. They locked antlers very briefly.. I mean very briefly before he retreated. I don’t think it took him long to realize he was no match for ol ‘One Eye’. This image was moments after he retreated to safety. When he ran off, he ended up stopping about 12’ away from me. We both stood there looking at one another. I told him it would be ok, that there are more girls out there & that he will find one fit for himself. We continued to stand there, both periodically looking in the direction of the large buck & doe. After another 5 minutes or so, they took off deeper into the woods. My friend looked at me & with 2 big bounds he to was gone into the bush. One of the greatest parts of spending so much time among the animals is getting to witness different behaviors at different times of the year. I’ll take real life encounter & observations any day over sitting in front of the tv. Get outdoors this winter & see what you can find!


©Dave Sandford.

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