The sounds got louder, accompanied by muffled thumps. I noticed dust rising from the field next to the trail, the back of some animal barely visible through the tall grass. I pulled out my binoculars, and everything became clear. Two bucks, repeatedly crashing their antlered heads together as two does looked on. It was majestic. It was madness. I wondered how they managed to not lose an eye.
Before I could even think to grab my camera, the fight was over, the loser (I presume) running into some nearby brush, each exhale exploding in a high-pitched, whistling wheeze. The winner watched for a moment, then sauntered away in the direction of the does. I had just begun fumbling for my camera case when the loser emerged from his refuge half a dozen meters away from where I stood and turned to look me in the eye. I froze. Time stretched, and I somehow managed to not wet myself. Eventually, he wandered off as I stood rooted to the ground, camera completely forgotten in my hands.