White-tails: December Update

Finding White-tailed Deer feeding in broad daylight is much more challenging now than it was earlier in the fall. The regular (gun) hunting season is winding down, the herd has been reduced, and the remaining deer are very wary. Natural movement and foraging activities are more nocturnal than diurnal.

A small family unit, an adult doe and her button buck fawn, surprised me today in the midday sun. They were drawn out of hiding by the sweet scent of fermenting wild apples on the ground. I also wonder if the mature doe learned something from the long nasty winter of 2014-15: eat now because good food sources will soon be few and far between.

The 6-month-old fawn was reckless, stepping clear of the thicket and feeding on apples out in the open.

Fawn9Dec15#1955E2c4x6

Its mother, older and wiser, chose to feed in heavy cover.

Doe9Dec15#1964E2c4x6

Photos by NB Hunter. © All Rights Reserved.

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6 thoughts on “White-tails: December Update

    • Yep, they got me dead to rights. I was working in the woods, not set up for a photo shoot. You’re right about the fawn button buck. Looks to be above average in weight, maybe 90-100 lbs. Reasons??? Educated guess: early born, with a head start; a fantastic growing season ….and by some accounts a 100 year apple crop…and no snow/cold temps to bury food and burn calories. We’ve had a dusting of snow to date — about 18 inches below normal, and the 60+ F temps on Monday and Tuesday might be record-breaking.

      • Then again it occurred to me to do a bit of google and it seems that I’m more used to the size of our black-tailed version. A smaller species than the white-tails. Back at the old house (with apple orchard), you had to be quite threatening in order to scare them off. I often wondered if one of the neighbors wasn’t feeding them.

  1. The atmospherics of midday sun and waning fall colors surrounding the “big button” and “mom” was beautiful. I wish I could capture this same effect in a watercolor…

  2. All of your information on the Whitetails here, is much the same as what I have discovered, following Daisy deer around for four years and observing the local herd. Your photographs are stunning, Nick! I look forward to seeing more of these beautiful creatures!

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