Saturday, October 29, 2011

Ding dang deer

Okay, I gotta confess. Despite my frustration with deer when they eat what they're not supposed to, I just love 'em.

This love goes waaaaay back. When I was a teenager, even before I realized I wanted to be a biologist, I used to do what I called "deer watching" which was to go out into the hills, hide myself up a tree or under a bush, and stay very very still just to watch what animals would come by. I saw some pretty neat things (including a mother skunk with five baby skunks toddling after her), but the most common animal I watched was deer. I admired their delicate grace and alert stance.

Early in the mornings, when I go outside to let the chickens out of their coop, I've learned to bring my camera with me since there are usually deer in our driveway area.

The other morning, our usual crowd (a doe and her two fawns) were hanging around... I stood still on the side porch and just watched them, quietly taking pictures. All of a sudden one of the fawns came around the side of the house, mere feet from me, and sniffed at a corn cob we'd given to the chickens the day before.

Since my camera was already up by my face, I didn't have to move as I took photos, so she never knew I was there. (Dumb deer.)

She rejoined her mama and sister...

...and then the whole crew wandered behind the barn into the open corral. I quietly went inside the barn, poised my camera, and waited for them to walk into view.

They never even saw me.

This one couldn't have been more than five feet away.

They nibbled their way across the corral...

...and went out the other side.

They skirted around our pile of logs...

...and disappeared into the woods.

Yes they're a hassle sometimes, but they sure are pretty animals.


  1. I love watching the deer in our field. They are a pain but I can't help watching them anyway.

  2. Great snapshots! Patrice, I have been photographing wildlife most of my life. I never get tired of watching the way wild animals move, feed, and play. They are quite remarkable.

    In fact, now that I'm older and not able to stay still for hours at a time, I ordered a great trail camera from Cabela's and hope to set it somewhere that will provide good photos of whatever critters are roaming around my house late at night while I'm sleeping. Can't wait for the camera to arrive!

    Too bad you won't accept gifts from readers. I'd send you a trail camera to set in your pasture. I bet you have a whole menagerie of wild animals out there after dark.

    Anonymous Patriot

  3. Patrice, do you all ever harvest any of the deer for meat?

  4. Nope. We're not hunters. We're not **against** it, you understand, but since we raise our own meat our freezer is always full of beef and chicken.

    - Patrice

  5. I like deer to...fried, baked, roasted & grilled.

    Man I would be hard pressed not to put one in the freezer being that close.

  6. I was a hunter for many years, in Southern California one can go that long without putting meat on the table, I never said I was a good hunter, anyhow, I discovered that I didn't really enjoy the taste of venison. I know must be something wrong with the way it was prepaired, however I chose to no longer hunt deer if I didn't like eating the end product. But I love seeing them in the wild, and taking pictures. I still love to be where the deer are, but for the most part they are safe when I am arround. (Even when I had a gun, being such a bad shot!);^)

  7. Couldn't you train your dog to shoo them away?

  8. Firstly, the dogs are inside at night. Secondly, Lydia is a Great Pyrenees, and Pyrs are roamers. If I were to let her loose on the deer, she would chase them away, all right; and then disappear. For hours, for days, who knows? The old joke with Pyrs is, if you give them, an acre, they take 20. If you give them 20 acres, they take 200. Gotta keep Pyrs close by. Pyrs who live with livestock have (or should have) tight enough fencing around the pasture so the dogs can't wander.

    - Patrice