It's a beautiful fall afternoon in the ranch country of deep South Texas as this handsome buck begins thrusting his antlers up into the lush greenery of a mesquite. He begins rubbing his impressive rack in the branches, breaking off a few twigs and leaves while depositing his scent in the tree.
By reaching up as high as he can stretch, the buck is signaling other males in the area that he is a formidable rival. This is one of dozens of signposts the mature buck will make in his home range letting other bucks and does know this is his territory.
Whitetail deer season in Texas opened October 2 for bowhunting, and November 6 is the opener for gun hunting and the general season.
This has been an exceptional year for rainfall in South Texas, and whitetail deer are enjoying an abundance of groceries, which translates into above average antler growth.
However, deer don't have to travel far to find food, and in the oak mottes north of Raymondville a bumper acorn crop may keep the bucks deep in the woods and out of hunters sights.
Texas boasts the largest deer herd in the nation with a population of some four million animals, and each year approximately 550,00 hunters take to the field in the lone star state to bag their venison.
A recent study puts the value of hunting state wide at some four billion dollars, and a big portion of that is spent pursuing whitetail deer.
And this year there should be plenty of big bucks in the field.