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  • Writer's pictureNotes From The Frontier

The Buck Stops Here!

Nature is spectacular, glorious and brutal. These two amazing photographs capture the unlikely deaths of four bucks that were found in wild. The left image shows a buck who died in a strange repose, apparently hung up in a tree. Perhaps he died of old age, or of disease or a hunter’s shot. (Sometimes hunters will hang carcasses in trees for the birds to pick clean.)

Whatever the cause, time had excoriated his carcass, reducing it down to the stark whiteness of his skeleton, downturned skull and magnificent rack. His huge body is curved in graceful slumber, almost sculptural in its tranquility, showing the true geometry of his bones under what was once covered in flesh and fur.

The right image shows three bucks whose antlers were tangled in a death struggle during rut. In their one buck must have fallen in the water, taking the other two with him. They drowned together in the water and their own over-flowing testosterone.

Native Americans, before the wilds of North America were settled and often despoiled, probably saw many such oddities. Perhaps they saw them as omens, premonitions, or portents. Or perhaps they simply accepted them as the circle of life,

Growing up in Iowa, I spent much of my youth in the woods along the Des Moines River, and saw many amazing things in Nature. Once, during rut season, I was walking deep into the woods of the river valley and came upon a huge buck with the most magnificent rack I had ever seen. I stopped. He stopped. He was only 20 feet away. He stomped his foot. I stomped my foot. He snorted and took a step toward me. I tried to snort too. He raised his head higher. Did he think I was challenging him? Or did he think I was a doe? (Yikes!) We stood there in a face-off for minutes, although it seemed like hours. He was trying to make sense of me. Finally, he stomped his leg one last time then turned and casually wandered off. It was the most amazing interaction I had ever had with a wild animal. And I cherish that moment still.

What have you seen or experienced in Nature that left a lasting impression with you? Please share your stories!

See these related posts:

-Yellowstone’s Wolves

-Leave It To Beavers

-The Magical Bond Between the Badger & the Coyote

-Grizzlies: Lords of the Wilderness

-The Wild Turkey

-Peanut Butter & The Endangered Black-Footed Ferret


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Deborah Hufford

Author, Notes from the Frontier

Deborah Hufford is an award-winning author and magazine editor with a passion for history. Her popular blog with 100,000+ readers has led to an upcoming novel! Growing up as an Iowa farmgirl, rodeo queen and voracious reader, her love of land, lore and literature fired her writing muse. With a Bachelor's in English and Master's in Journalism from the University of Iowa, she taught students of Iowa's Writer's Workshop, then at Northwestern University, Marquette and Mount Mary. Her extensive publishing career began at Better Homes & Gardens, includes credits in New York Times Magazine, New York Times, Connoisseur, many other titles, and serving as publisher of The Writer's Handbook


Deeply devoted to social justice, especially for veterans, women, and Native Americans, she has served on boards and donated her fundraising skills to Chief Joseph Foundation, Missing & Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIW), Homeless Veterans Initiative, Humane Society, and other nonprofits.  


Deborah's soon-to-be released historical novel, BLOOD TO RUBIES weaves indigenous and pioneer history, strong women and clashing worlds into a sweeping saga praised by NYT bestselling authors as "crushing," "rhapsodic," "gritty," and "sensuous." Purchase BLOOD TO RUBIES online beginning June 9. Connect with Deborah on, Facebook, and Instagram.

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