darkslinger wrote in post #18567165
Tom Reichner – always like your images Tom, this does capture the line that you’ve chosen, great exposure. Is the deer chewing on the branch?
I'm glad you asked that!
The deer is, well, he's kinda chewing on the branch, but not really. . He's mouthing the end of the branch, in order to get his saliva on it, and thus his scent. . Sometimes the bucks chew the twig a little, but just to ensure that their scent is deposited, never with intent to consume the branch.
This is what is known as a "licking branch". . Licking branches are always part of a "scrape".
Scrapes consist of an area of ground that a buck paws down to bare soil, and then pees on. . He doesn't just pee regularly on the bare soil; rather, he pees slowly, and stands in such a way so as to ensure that the urine dribbles down the inside of his rear leg as it plummets to earth. . This is so that it runs over the metatarsal gland on the inside of his knee joint. . The urine will pick up the scent from the metatarsal gland as it runs over it, and then that scent will end up on the ground in the middle of the scrape. . This is always done where there is a branch directly overhead.
After the pawing & peeing ritual, the buck will lift his head up to the overhead twig and mouth it gently, so that scent from his mouth/saliva gets on it. . The buck in my photo that you asked about is in the process of completing his scrape, by mouthing the licking branch.
The scent that is deposited lets other deer know that the buck is, well, that he is there ..... kind of like a territory marker, but not specifically a territory marker, because bucks don't really claim territories the same way some other large mammals do. . It is more of a way of the buck letting other deer (does and bucks alike) know of his presence, and of his status, which is "ready to breed".
The "ready to breed" part comes in due to hormones that bucks in most areas have from September until January (or thereabouts). . The urine and the saliva carry scent that is unique to the breeding season. . During the rest of the year their scent is different and they are not able to breed and they do not make scrapes.
"Your" and "you're" are different words with completely different meanings - please use the correct one.
"They're", "their", and "there" are different words with completely different meanings - please use the correct one.
"Fare" and "fair" are different words with completely different meanings - please use the correct one. The proper expression is "moot point", NOT "mute point".