BOLIVAR, Tenn. (WATE) — Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency officers caught two deer on camera fighting in a unique way this week.
The white-tailed bucks can be seen fighting each other as if they were “slapping.”
“… We are thrilled that TWRA’s Wildlife Officers Amy and Bubba Spencer caught this great duel on one of their trail cameras,” the agency wrote. “Amy and Bubba think these two bucks were working out their issues over a small food plot in Hardeman County.”
According to Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, in spring and summer, bucks form “bachelor groups” when their antlers are growing and testosterone levels are low. TWRA says they typically get along well but still establish a “pecking order” within the group and sometimes flail one another with their front hooves as opposed to sparring with their antlers.
The antlers are growing bones containing blood vessels and nerves and are covered with velvet, according to TWRA. Growing antlers are sensitive and bucks are very protective of them during this time, choosing instead to spar with their hooves. As day-length shortens in the fall, testosterone levels rise causing antlers to harden and the velvet to fall off. Bucks become intolerant of one another and exhibit aggressive behavior by sparring with their now hardened antlers.
TWRA says there are around 900,000 white-tailed deer in Tennessee. The species can be found across the state, but in the 1940’s they were mainly living in East Tennessee.