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Written on September 15, 2018

Filming With Bucks

Bucks (male deer) are large-antlered animals found in the Americas, Europe and Asia. Common species of deer include elk, moose, reindeer, white-tailed deer, and red deer. A buck’s coat and antlers change throughout the year.

In the spring bucks shed their winter coat, and in the late summer they shed their summer coat.

Bucks re-grow antlers annually. Antler size varies with the age of the animal increasing annually over several years before reaching maximum size. Males grow antlers in the spring and summer. The velvet that covers a growing antler is eventually shed leaving only the fully grown bone in time for the rutting season when males fight one another for female mates. The rutting season takes place in early autumn. Fully grown antlers are heavy to carry around so one would think that bucks would shed their antlers soon after rut. The opposite is true. Antlers act as an effective defensive deterrent against wolves and other pray throughout the cold, snowy months. Healthy adult males typically shed their antlers in early March, in order to get a head start at growing new antlers for the coming season. Young males, which are least likely to mate, typically don’t shed their antlers until the end of May.

In most deer species only males grow antlers. Reindeer are an exception, where females have also evolved to grow antlers, which are used to clear away snow so they can forage for the vegetation underneath.

Tame bucks can be trained to perform basic on-camera tasks. It is best to film with tame bucks just before the rutting season when the antlers are at full size. During the rutting season the animals become more unruly and aggressive. The last thing you want is a buck charging video village at speed.

Wild bucks are more interesting to film during the rutting season when combat for harems makes for spectacular wildlife photography. Deer are shy and skittish, so finding them in the wild can be a challenge. Use a telephoto lens and move slowly. Choose a location where deer are protected and feel less threatened by human presence. Evenings are a good time to film when deer come to feed.

Animal Handlers

Are you a brand, media company, film studio, advertising agency, or production house looking to shoot content with a wild or tame buck? Contact us and we can recommend local experienced animal handlers to ensure your shoot runs smoothly and safely. We are also able to recommend camera crews and production support experienced in working with these wild animals.

Photo Credit.