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      The Nature Report: South Texas Big Buck

      Emerging from the South Texas brush, a majestic buck strides forward with his massive antlers held high.

      His thick neck and powerfully muscled shoulders are indicative of a mature buck, probably six years of age. His impressive rack has some 14 countable points, but it is the beam mass and tine length that really makes him special.

      He undoubtedly scores close to 200 Boone and Crockett points, and you could spend a lifetime in the ranch country and never see a better buck. Nearby, a nervous doe sniffs the air suspiciously as a young spike stands alertly behind her. With ears cocked forward, eyes riveted ahead and glistening nose aquiver, the buck is hyper alert to any hint of danger.

      The anxious doe has passed behind him into the protective cover of the brush, but he stands his ground. The doe reappears on the edge of the woods, but continues to test the air. Meanwhile, the buck has let his guard down and is peacefully browsing amidst the fresh growth.

      Suddenly, he throws his head up and peers back over his shoulder. As he swivels, the breath taking sweep of his velvet clad antlers are fully revealed. He returns to browsing and is soon joined by the slender doe, which peers timidly around his broad shoulders before tiptoeing delicately by. Each spring whitetail bucks begin to grow a new set of antlers and by late September most will shed the velvet like sheath that has protected their newly forming racks.

      This buck will be shedding his velvet soon, and if I am lucky enough to encounter him again he will be sporting freshly hardened antlers. After a leisurely browse, the buck moves off toward the woods from where he first appeared, and soon he vanishes into the cloaking mesquite.