Two whitetail deer bucks spar during a territorial battle in November 2018. Credit: Courtesy of Bill and Kathy

With Maine’s firearms deer season looming — Saturday marks the residents-only opener — it only seems proper to share a few deer photos today in our ongoing series of trail cam videos and images that have been sent in by Bangor Daily News readers.

If you’re a deer hunter, maybe you’ve sat there in your tree stand or ground blind (like I have) and pondered the many questions that surround our sport.

Like: “I wonder if bucks are still fighting with each other, seeking to get the upper hand over their rivals?”

Two bucks battle for supremacy in December 2013. Credit: Courtesy of Russell T.

And this: “I wonder if those battling bucks would be intrigued and come over for a visit if I were to rattle these antlers for a bit?”

(Yes, many of us deer hunters carry antlers in our packs so we can try to sound like the real thing. The thought is that if real deer get angry enough, they might just come over to fight with us. And as someone nearly once said, it’s not a great idea to bring a knife — or antlers, in this case — to a gunfight.)

But I’ve never known exactly what time of year those bucks would be battling. It makes sense that they’d be vying for superiority before mating season, also called “the rut,” gets fully going. But would rattling be a good tactic for the peak of the rut, which happens in mid-November? How about during muzzleloading season in December? Or how about during October’s archery season?

The answers, if the time and date stamps on today’s trail cam submissions can be trusted, seem to be yes, yes and yes.

Two bucks fight during a rainstorm in October 2020. Credit: Courtesy of Lee D.

Lee D. checked in with a trail cam photo of battling bucks from Oct. 14 of this year. Bill and Kathy from Waldo County sent us an image captured on Nov. 30, 2018. And Russell T.’s battling bucks were still locking antlers on Dec. 12, 2013.

The message for me is pretty simple, and I plan to put it to good use this season: The bucks are battling for at least two solid months, so why not try rattling for a bit to see who stops by for a visit?

That’s the plan for now, anyhow. I’ll let you know how it all turns out.

Do you have a trail camera photo or video to share? Send it to and tell us “I consent to the BDN using my photo.” In order to prevent neighbors from stopping by to try to tag particularly large bucks, moose or bears, some identities and towns of origin may be omitted.

Avatar photo

John Holyoke

John Holyoke has been enjoying himself in Maine's great outdoors since he was a kid. He spent 28 years working for the BDN, including 19 years as the paper's outdoors columnist or outdoors editor. While...