Bucks in the rut are astoundingly single-minded individuals, and their priorities essentially boil down to two primal directives: 1) find a doe and 2) show other bucks who’s boss. Not every hunter gets a glimpse of the latter, but the sharp crack of an antler-on-antler confrontation is unmistakable. Bucks have been known to barrel straight into a hunting party, disregarding the hunters entirely as they struggle to dominate their rivals. Like many other species in the animal kingdom, male deer have to prove their strength and prowess against other bucks in order to keep territory and have a chance to mate. These fights are generally not fought to the death, but injuries—sometimes fatal—can occur.
If you need any reminder how powerful these animals can be, take a look through the list of buck battles below.
1. The high-flyer
This video was taken in Utah’s Oquirrh Mountains and portrays a no-nonsense sparring match between two males. An interloper decides to take advantage of the situation and sends one of the bucks flying about seven feet into the air. Hoisted by both of his opponents’ antlers, the helpless buck spends a moment suspended in space before it lands and quickly runs off.
2. The corn feeder dust-up
These two large males seem to have gotten into an argument over dinner. Being the gentlemen that they are, the deer rolled up their sleeves and quickly engaged in an antler fight, spreading dust everywhere and ruining everybody’s appetites. The hunter who took the footage said that both deer made it out of the duel relatively unhurt despite the big tumbles they took, and neither of the two were harvested. Hilariously, the doe in the background didn’t even seem to notice.
3. The boxers
Ever wondered how bucks fight in the off-season without their antlers? Well, when there’s a will there’s a way. These two bucks seem to have mastered the art of hoof boxing and engage in a friendly bout inside a South Dakota park. Gauging by the nearby bleachers, the bucks probably expected a larger audience for their match, but nonetheless carried on with the slapfest. Unfortunately, poor positioning by one of the boxers ended the fight when the deer tripped over a bleacher and quickly tapped out.
4. The white deer
It is a very, very rare thing to see a white deer engage in a duel, and even rarer for two white bucks to be fighting each other. In North America, albino, white, and piebald deer are a strange sight and few ever make it into adulthood. Outside of the white deer herd in Seneca, New York, it is almost unheard of to see two white bucks locked in combat. White fallow deer in Europe, however, are a little bit more common. This video was shot in Northern Ireland of two bucks duking it out, before they realize they’re on camera.
5. The clash of the titans
This footage, which included a buck with over 30 points, was taken by the Deer Run livecam operated by USeeWildlife.com in the Ozarks of northern Arkansas. In the background you can see a few white and regular-colored deer observing the fight, which happens over a large patch of fallen leaves.
Image copyright Getty Images/mikerogal