Whitetail Watching, 2019

This is the best time of year to observe deer, especially if quality, open habitats are accessible. Populations are high, deer are preoccupied with eating, and bucks are warming up for the breeding season.

Since eating is the top priority, mixed groups are common and warrant close scrutiny. They’re full of surprises! Variations in sex, age, condition, color and behavior soon appear.

A “bachelor group”, common social behavior in summer; note the tumor on the middle buck

Two bucks in the frame, but my attention is elsewhere!

Early territorial behavior: scent-marking an overhead branch (1 of 2)

A mature buck leaving the hay field for dessert in the adjacent brush lot: wild apples

Bucks are being bucks, while does are parenting. Fawns are weaned, but still need TLC (1 of 3)

Photos by NB Hunter (Aug. 31 – Sept. 5, 2019). All rights reserved.

Making Hay

Most of the photos of deer in recent posts were taken in three large hay fields, fields that had been cut earlier in the summer and were now loaded with succulent new growth. I was seeing 20 to 30 deer that were very tolerant of humans (in motion) and vehicles.

On my latest visit, I discovered a very different landscape – the fields had been cut and the hay wind-rowed. Deer were few and far between, a fraction of the normal numbers.

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The deer that I did see were nervous and spooky in a habitat that had changed drastically, virtually overnight. Even though the uncut hay had offered little cover, unless they were bedded down in it, they seemed to feel exposed and vulnerable in the stubble.

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Within a few minutes, I was abandoned, alone with my thoughts, amazed at how suddenly and unexpectedly a photo opportunity can materialize …. or vaporize!

Photos by NB Hunter. © All Rights Reserved.