Two bucks begin a battle for dominance in a trail camera series of photos that lasts nearly an hour. Credit: Courtesy of Ronnie W.

When I’m out in the woods, sitting in a blind waiting for a deer to walk by, I sometimes pick up a pair of “rattling” antlers and bang them together, hoping to simulate the sounds that battling bucks would make if they were trying to defeat a territorial rival.

There are a couple problems with that plan of action. First, though I think I’ve heard bucks battling before, I’m not entirely sure that those “deer” weren’t actually other nearby hunters who were also trying to simulate the sound of battling bucks. Second, I’m never really sure how long a realistic buck battle should last, so I’m more-or-less winging it.

Two bucks continue to battle, 51 minutes after the clash began. Credit: Courtesy of Ronnie W.

Some of the literature I’ve read says you should warm up by just tentatively tinkling the tines of your rattling antlers together, like the bucks are jousting for fun, or just greeting each other playfully. Other “experts” say you ought to be stomping around when you rattle because that’s what deer would be doing. Still others advise kicking a bush or two while you’re at it, since the deer will be thrashing through the undergrowth while they fight for territorial domination over other bucks that are looking for females to breed with.

Today’s trail camera submission from a Bangor Daily News reader answers one of the questions I’ve always had. Well, almost. That is, “How long will bucks go on fighting?”

Two bucks are still jousting after more than 50 minutes. Credit: Ronnie W.

As it turns out, a long, long time.

This sequence of photos — I’ve included four of the 13 that Ronnie W. from Lincoln County sent in — show that these two bucks joust and fight for 58 minutes before one stands alone, apparently victorious.

Of course, the photos don’t answer another key question: How many seconds do the deer spend fighting before taking a rest break? Knowing the answer to that question would certainly help hunters determine how long their rattling sequences should be when they’re trying to call.

After a 58-minute scuffle, one buck stands alone, apparently the victor. Credit: Courtesy of Ronnie W.

I guess that leaves us hunters to our own devices — again — and we’ll only learn what works by trying all kinds of different sequences.

Like we’ve always done.

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.

Watch more:

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...