Survivors of the Thorn Scrub

Survivors of the Thorn Scrub

Unique animals whose behavior was 100 percent effective in avoiding predation by man and animal.

Story and photography by Bob Zaiglin

Driving over a sunbaked ranch road in mid-December, a contrail of dust followed my vehicle as I headed to a particular area where I hoped to locate a unique mature buck I had filmed in years past.

Approaching a rise before I dropped down into a sea of thorn-scrub, I caught a glimpse of an exceptional large-racked buck relentlessly hazing a doe and immediately hit the brakes.  Coming to an abrupt halt, a blanket of dust covered my vehicle, interrupting my view temporarily until a strong north wind carried the dust away.  Although the buck entered the brush I could still see the doe and based on her behavior, constantly looking back over her shoulder, I knew that the buck was not far away.

As fast as I could, I removed the garbage bag I had draped over my camera gear to prevent dust particles from permeating the camera body and coating the censor, which would affect the quality of images taken.  With my camera mounted on a titanium tripod and sophisticated gimbal head over my right shoulder, I entered the brush and stealthily maneuvered towards the pair in hopes of documenting the exceptional buck on film. 

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