The deer have been visiting my bird feeders at night and I see their tracks leading to and from the feeders. A few days ago, while peeking through the blinds, I spotted a buck very close to the feeder. As he came near, he began foraging for seed on the ground and kept scanning the area to see if it was safe. When he got really close, he bent his head down to eat and that’s when I noticed he had only one antler. This was the first time I had seen antlered deer up close and it looked so strange to see one missing. I wondered what could cause him to loose his antler. I thought he could have gotten into a fight or maybe bucks shed their antlers but I really didn’t know. Or maybe, just maybe, he could be a Unicorn. I speculated with fantasy a bit but I really couldn’t convince myself. He nervously paced back and forth, along the length of the deck and then returned to the feeder again and again. Spying between the blinds and trying not to spook him, I managed to get a few pictures. He was definitely checking me out too.
The antler is not very big, and only measures eight inches and has two pointers. I know the exact measurement because I checked under the feeder the next morning and spotted the antler sticking out of the snow. I couldn’t wait to get my boots on to go down to retrieve it. I now know, that deer shed their antlers every year, usually from December to March but I gratefully accepted it as a gift from him. That’s how I choose to see it. I found it thrilling to examine, feeling its texture and smoothness and knowing that it was part of that deer, only hours ago, made it feel special. I measured it and laid it down to gently admire it. Determining that it was his right antler, I measured eight inches from base to the longest point. It was hard and smooth, made of bone and I was surprised at its’ pale color. No dark velvet on it at all. Examining the photos later on, he looked like a young buck and on close up, I could see where his left antler had fallen off.
Later, I surrendered the Unicorn theory and I gave an admiring glance at the fireplace where I laid it down and went on line to learn a little more about deer and their antlers.
Here are a few more pics of my Unicorn.