I called him “Mr. Mellow,” which turned out to be the most inappropriate nickname for a buck, ever. It seemed to fit the big 10-point because he was unbothered by vehicle traffic (I shot dozens of pics of him from my truck cab at distances under 50 yards), fed placidly while does and fawns cavorted around him, and wasn’t afraid to move in daylight. In other words, he exhibited totally abnormal behavior for a Midwestern buck that lived in hard-hunted territory.
In late July I got the first hint that my nickname sucked. That’s when I saw Mr. Mellow had broken off the end of one velvet-covered main beam. At first I guessed he’d run into something and damaged his rack. Later I revised my opinion to include the possibility of aggressive rubbing or a fight with another buck (rare behavior for a velvet-racked deer) because by our mid-September archery opener Mr. Mellow was the neighborhood bully. He would scrap with any similar-size buck and harass every younger buck that he saw.
My neighbor shot Mr. Mellow the first week of October as the buck charged a buck decoy, ready to fight. Once a pretty specimen, the 10-point had busted all but one tine from fighting. The buck that I’d thought was as calm as a dairy cow was actually more like a UFC fighter.
Since then, I’ve run into several…