While out on Antelope Island State Park the other day I spotted a Mule Deer (Odocoileus hemionus) that was almost hidden by tall grasses and stopped to get some images. When the deer moved away from the grasses I realized it was too close to get full body shots of the buck with my Nikkor 200-400mm VR attached to my camera so I decided to take Mule Deer portraits.

Mule Deer Buck head onMule Deer Buck head on – Nikon D300, f6.3, 1/1250, ISO 500, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light

Mule Deer bucks are in velvet right now and will be until their antlers fully develop. I wonder how big these antlers will get.

Side view of a Mule Deer buck in velvetSide view of a Mule Deer buck in velvet – Nikon D300, f6.3, 1/2500, ISO 500, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light

I like that this buck also gave me a few opportunities for profile shots. I love being able to see into those huge, dark eyes.

Atypical Mule Deer buck in velvetAtypical Mule Deer buck in velvet – Nikon D300, f6.3, 1/1600, ISO 500, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 300mm, natural light

The surprise was that the first Mule Deer buck wasn’t alone, shortly after I started photographing this buck stood up, it had been completely hidden from my sight.  This buck’s antlers are atypical, I think he looks jaunty.

I enjoyed taking these Mule Deer portraits, it isn’t often that I am this close to wild deer.

Mia