I shoot most of my bucks with a big prime lens, but always keep the 100-400 with me for some closer opportunities that may pop up unexpectedly. This buck offered such an opportunity. There was only time to get a couple frames off, handheld - simply no time to set up the tripod and get the big lens in position. So I was glad to have the little zoom with me!
I like it best when I can put something relatively dark behind a buck's antlers, so that they show up better in the image. In this case, I had time to get down on the ground and shoot up at him, which put his antlers squarely in front of the green cedar trees in the background. If that straw-colored grass had been behind his antlers, they would've just "disappeared" in the image.
Canon 100-400 zoom @ 400mm
1/1000th of a second
very minimal processing in iPhoto