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      Nature Report: New Year's Buck

      A heavy antlered buck ambles up a Starr County sendero in late afternoon.

      It's always exciting to see a good buck, and at first I am sure I have never caught sight of him before, but then there does seem to be something familiar about this fellow. As he approaches I recognize those distinctive brow tines.

      They are exceptionally long, with the left being slightly shorter. While much about a deer's antlers can change from year to year, the brow tines tend to be a good marker in helping to identify a particular deer. He has some 10 countable points with impressive mass on his main beams, and he is a fine brush country buck with a lot of character in his rack. It is the first time I have seen this deer this winter, but I now recall him from last year, and while he's familiar there is definitely something missing from his antlers in 2014. Here is the same buck from last winter.

      We called him Drop because of a prominent drop tine protruding down from his right main beam. This year, that name just doesn't work, as he does not have a drop tine.

      He is still a very impressive buck, and at approximately five years of age it will be interesting to see what his rack looks like next year. Whitetail deer usually don't maximize their antler growth potential until their sixth year, and with the South Texas hunting season wrapping up on January 19th this wily buck stands a good chance of making it to next season. It will be exciting to see what his next set of antlers look like, and who knows, he might just have another drop tine or two. With your Nature Report I'm Richard Moore