Wanna Be Friends?
Whitetail Bucks - Big Meadows, Shenandoah National Park
An adult Buck interacting with a button Buck amidst the wild low-bush blueberries in the meadow. What's actually happening here is the young Buck is trying to establish a friendly relationship with the adult Buck for grooming purposes. Usually, grooming is often initiated by a dominant deer and the subordinate deer will follow suit, but that wasn't the case with this particular occasion. The adult Buck got aggravated a few times by the younger one because he was trying to eat blueberries, but he eventually gave in and the two groomed each other about a half-hour later.
Deer will lick and groom one another, especially around the neck and shoulders. You have probably seen Does and Fawns especially doing this, but Bucks do it also. Grooming helps to maintain bonds, but also as they groom, deer are removing external parasites from each other.
You may also see deer of the opposite sex interacting (nuzzling, etc.). I have found this usually occurs between family members.
Have some noise here - had to use ISO 3200 at 6:30 am
HDR -- 3 brackets from a single RAW (-2 | 0 | +2) merged and lightly tone mapped, cropped.
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