Deer … and Snow

Winter weather, particularly snow, is the guiding force behind my recreational activities from November to March. We had 8 – 9 inches of snow this past week, 6 inches from the fringe of a winter coastal storm followed by fluffy, lake-effect snow formed over Lake Ontario.

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The cold, calm weather that accompanied the snow provided ideal walking and stalking conditions. Soft snow underfoot and snow-covered vegetation muffles sounds and conceals movements.

I decided to seize the opportunity and spend some time stalking and observing a small family group of White-tails, deer that are somewhat tolerant of people and apt to feed during the day. Dried, persistent leaves on small trees and shrubs and the occasional apple were the foods of choice.

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A massive, mature doe; matriarch

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Button-buck fawn (about 5 months old)

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Photos by NB Hunter. © All Rights Reserved.

 

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Late Afternoon Sky…@#$#%!

I’d been out stalking deer in the snow and was now resting and thawing out. Pale pinkish clouds and a nice half moon caught my attention: should I retrieve my camera from the other room? I didn’t, and at that very moment a large flock of snow geese, high in the sky and glistening like Christmas lights in the setting sun, straddled the moon with their V formation.

You could call this photo a “frustration” shot!

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Moon in late evening sun 11/28/14

Photo by NB Hunter. © All Rights Reserved.

Deer Habitat

The hunting season for deer is well underway and the survivors know the value of dense cover, especially during daylight hours.

This doe was feeding and resting in an old field habitat dominated by goldenrods (until they collapse under heavy snow) and thicket-forming shrubs. She was eating dried, persistent leaves (including blackberry leaves) and the small red berries of Multiflora Rose.

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Young White-tailed Deer feeding and bedding in dense cover (goldenrods, Multiflora Rose, Buckthorn, dogwoods, Viburnums, White Ash seedlings, other) 20Nov2014

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Multiflora Rose fruit in winter; this is an invasive species

Photo by NB Hunter. © All Rights Reserved.

It’s Freezing!

We’ve escaped the blizzards and heavy snowfalls pummeling areas to the west and north, but it has been unusually cold for this time of year: 10 degrees F this morning, excluding a nasty wind chill.

A short hike along the edge of a small, hemlock-cedar swamp revealed the formation of thin ice, some greenery above and below it, and crystalline highlights.

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Snow crystals and a mossy stick, on ice 11/19/14

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Fern, alive and well after days of sub-freezing temps 11/19/14

Photos by NB Hunter. © All Rights Reserved.