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A ‘One-Sided’ Whitetail Buck and His Wildlife Photographer Friend

whitetail buck
Justin Hoffman

Meet the whitetail buck I call ‘One-Side.’ I’m pretty sure he enjoys my company.

As a wildlife photographer and manically obsessed trail camera guy, the woods are like a second home to me. Checking cards and carrying a tripod is a fixture of the fall, and since the land I work is public but off-limits to hunting, the whitetail deer certainly become like family. Take ‘One-Side’ for instance.

‘One-Side’ is a new buck for me. He first showed up on a trail cam a couple of weeks back, and since that time, has become a regular fixture. He sports an impressive five points on his left side, however, and what I can only surmise was an early velvet injury, his right is stunted and missing. Yes, this guy would struggle a bit in a scrap.

whitetail buck
‘One-Side’ working a licking branch.

I’ve found him in the woods on a number of occasions; working his numerous scrapes and licking branches or feeding at the big old apple tree. He isn’t too concerned with my presence.

Yesterday was a beautiful afternoon for a hike. With cards to swap and an itch to get a spot of photography in, I made my way to the woods. I first spotted ‘One-Side’ at 3:00 p.m., then again at 5:30. The latter I captured with the cam.

There were some great scrape, rub-urination, and licking branch behaviors in that clip. Best of all was our surprise at each seeing the other.

I left ‘One-Side’ that evening as he made his way around the perimeter of the cut sorghum field. As the light faded, I caught a glimpse of him chasing a doe.

It will be interesting to see my interactions with ‘One-Side’ over the next few months. And you can bet I’ll be searching good and hard for those antlers once they drop. A matched-set for the memory bank.

I have another favourite deer I’ve named ‘Old Buck.’ You can read his story here. Fingers crossed he shows up again this season.

There’s something about making ‘friends’ with deer that is pretty satisfying, and I’ve met hundreds over the last few years.


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A ‘One-Sided’ Whitetail Buck and His Wildlife Photographer Friend