Every king looses his crown…eventually. The neat thing about the whitetail king of our woods “Broad Beams” is that he just grows back a new crown on the top of his head each spring. He is old now, very old. He has haunted our woods for the duration of our time in this home. My husband and I have grown more attached to him than any of our other deer, perhaps because of his enormous size and charisma or perhaps because we simply know him the best. Each and every time I see him, my heart beats just a little bit faster.
Broad Beams comes by every day. He is shy around “strangers” and will lay low if he hears voices other than ours inside our home. But he knows Alan and I, and if we are here alone, he just strides right up to the house. Below is one of my favorite scenes through our hearth room window…Broad Beams approaching on the deer trail. When he sees me standing in the window taking his picture, he will often stop and pose for me before proceeding. Then he emerges onto the scene like the great titan that he is.
Each year the antlers on Broad Beams have grown back a bit differently which is typical for whitetail deer. The size of his antlers is on the decline now because of his advancing age. He is a magnificent, battle torn warrior, wearing the scars from many, many years of maintaining his reign as King. These post-rut pictures (above and below) were taken this January at age 8 1/2. Indeed he is quite old for a wild whitetail deer.
Alan and I hike in our woods each March, looking for antlers that have recently been shed by our deer friends. It is like a treasure hunt. We find something every year, but usually don’t find the antlers from our big guys. Last year my husband found one of Broad Beam’s antlers. After much searching, we were never able to find the other one. Antlers usually don’t drop off at the same time. So if a buck is on the move while they are loosing them, the antlers can be miles apart.
This year I noticed exactly when Broad Beams lost his antlers. I saw him in the morning with them, and then saw him in the early evening that same day without them. So we surmised that they must be nearby. My husband and I set out on our late winter treasure hunt. It didn’t take long to find both antlers. They were only about 100 yards apart which means that he lost both of them at close to the same time and he had not covered much ground in between. What a wonderful gift our boy has left for us this year!