This sparring is more for sizing each other up and practicing. Full out dominance fighting is seen more with bucks over 3.5 years old and with bucks from outside their range, where it can turn quite violent.
These young bucks are probably 2.5 years old, as their antlers are even with their ears.
This week, we had three larger males, who are at least 3.5 years old, in the area, grazing together.
One male was off to himself,
while the other two were very friendly and affectionate with each other and even licking one another.
Usually the subordinate male licks the face and forehead gland of the recognized dominate male, which usually occurs before or after a sparring match.
Note their dark stained tarsal glands inside their back legs.
Except during rutting season, males usually spend time together throughout the year, away from the females, who can be bossy.
I wonder if these are the twins from July of 2011?