Thursday, December 4, 2014


My wife spotted a couple of whitetail does passing between our yard and the neighbor's the other day. Like owls, they are more likely to be seen in daylight hours if it is a cloudy day. Just watching them, they were extremely wary and deliberate. They grazed right up against the neighbor's house, but it was only after being absolutely certain it was safe.

They disappeared in a general direction away from my house, but a little while later, I saw them returning. To get to the safety of the deeper woods, they have to pass by my house. When I saw them coming back, I decided to sneak out the front door and set up the camera (it was on a tripod) to take a few pictures as they snuck by. Looking for the lead deer, I suddenly realized I was looking right at her but not seeing her. This image very much gives an idea of what that is like. It takes a second to realize there is actually something there.

Once I realized where she was, I also realized she had already spotted me. I had peeked around the corner of the porch slowly enough not to cause her to retreat in a panic, but she certainly was already aware of my presence and carefully watching me.

I had a camera on a tripod in front of me and my face was hidden behind it, so this may have made it harder for her to recognize me as a human. The wind was also in my favor since it was blowing from where she was towards me.

You can see her huge radar ears. Even though I switched the camera over to silent shutter, she could hear it click which made her freeze and study me for perhaps ten minutes before she moved again. I shot this image through a hanging basket on the porch which is what makes up the out-of-focus part of the picture.

I didn't realize it until these two moved on towards the main woods, but there was a third female, even larger than these two, bringing up the rear. She joined them when they reached the edge of another neighbor's yard. If you look carefully, you can see three does in the photo. And then, like ghosts, they were gone.

One of the Far Side cartoons by Gary Larsen I thought was among his best involved deer. It has been almost twenty years since he retired. Gee, I miss that guy!

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