Stalking the deer herd

The leaves have fallen in the woods behind my house, and I can now see through the understory of buckthorn and amur maple.  I tracked a doe from the pond north through the wetland (now dry) open space.  Suddenly I was surrounded by a small herd moving slowly through the brush on the hillside below all the homes.  I counted 7 does and yearling fawns, and then one latecomer, that turned out to be a young buck.  One doe was particularly brave and led the whole group right over to me, although most of them hid behind small trees rather than venture into the clearing.  Can you see them?  They’re the brown lumps to the left and behind the doe.

She was quite bold, although her fawn was less so, and walked within 25 feet of me.  When alarmed (by seeing a light gray stick figure in the woods), deer stomp deliberately with their front feet, as she did in approaching me, every now and then sticking her nose in the air to see if I smelled dangerous.

These three pictures are all taken at the same zoom level (pocket-sized Olympus point and shoot) and cropped identically, so you can see how close she approached.  October through December is rutting season for White-tailed deer in Minnesota, so I wondered where the buck was.

And it didn’t take long for him to show himself, after all his ladies had congregated in one place.  However, in contrast to the lead doe, he was very shy, and managed to put vegetation between himself and my camera quite effectively.  His antlers were unimpressive, and he wasn’t much bigger than the does he was following, so I assume he was just a young buck.  He stopped very briefly, stared at me, stamped his feet a couple of times, snorted, and then all of them dashed off uphill.

I snapped this just as he was stomping, snorting, and in the process of leaving (note — white tail flag).  Well, now that I know where they hang out, I might go back with a better camera.

1 thought on “Stalking the deer herd

  1. Pingback: a blast from the past | Back Yard Biology

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