Wild Apples and Deer

The wild apple trees are loaded this year! It’s a bumper crop of fruit that will feed wildlife, especially deer, for several months and help sustain them through the winter. Some varieties start dropping apples in late summer and others retain their persistent fruit well into autumn, even into the winter months. White-tails love apples and are tuned into this cycle. They’re already foraging heavily on the early drops.

This post features a young buck that I first observed in October, 2014 when he was a 4-month-old button buck. We had many close encounters over the next 7-8 months, but he was invisible for most of the summer. Fallen apples lured him back into view, within camera range in good light! Facial markings and notches in his left ear are identifying features. I hope to see him again in a month or so, when his small antlers are polished, in order to complete his story.

Most of our wild apples are too  large to swallow whole and must be chewed with the molars in the back of the mouth. This may be the only thing that a deer does not do gracefully, and the process of getting an apple from the ground to the stomach can be quite entertaining!

The tedious manipulation of large quantities of apples warrants an occasional break to relax and groom ….

before heading off to find another apple tree!

Photos by NB Hunter. 11August2015. All Rights Reserved. ©

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