Whitetails in Winter

Despite extreme weather conditions, fluctuating from one of end of the bell curve to the other, the deep snow that limits wildlife mobility and access to food has been absent. Small family groups of whitetails are feeding throughout the day now, with the luxury of expanding their winter diet beyond the twigs of woody plants.

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Photos by NB Hunter. © All Rights Reserved.

A Deer in Early Winter

The hunters are gone but a new challenge awaits: Winter. Three months of cold, snow and dwindling food supplies. Waste grain is not yet buried in snow and a young doe seizes the opportunity to feed ahead of an approaching storm. Every bite counts now, even if it means abandoning the cover of darkness.

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Photos by NB Hunter (12/23/2017). © All Rights Reserved.

First Snow (27October2016)

The first snow of the season left its mark on the landscape, in a pleasant sort of way (I don’t dare say that in the village, for fear of being shot). Unfortunately, a cold rain followed, turning the snow into slippery slush.

There was a narrow window of opportunity for “snow shots” this morning, before the rain, and these are some of the highlights.

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Cultivated red raspberry, second fruiting

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Quaking Aspen leaf

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Sugar Maple leaf

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Yearling white-tail feeding on persistent foliage (before I showed up)

Photos by NB Hunter. © All Rights Reserved.

Deer in a Snowstorm

The snowstorm that I alluded to in my last post (“Calm before the Storm”) arrived right on schedule. Yesterday, deer were bedded on bare ground; early this morning, I was clearing 8 inches of fresh snow from around the bird feeders and the kennel. According to the evening news, we’ll have 15 -25 inches before the system moves out this weekend.

Some of my most memorable field experiences have occurred because I could not sit still and enjoy a good winter storm through a window. Today, I bundled up, tucked my camera inside the bulky wool coat, and shuffled along quietly through 10 inches of snow. The trail intersects good deer habitat and my goal was to find and photograph deer in the midst of a Nor’easter, behaving naturally.

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Everything was covered in snow, and much of the weaker vegetation was bending under the weight. There was also snow in the air, so visibility in thickly vegetated areas was less than 20 meters. These conditions are magical, even more so when a fresh track is encountered. Assuming the wind direction is favorable, a fresh deer track in the middle of a snowstorm means there is a rather large mammal within a stones throw of where you’re standing. Predator and prey, silent and invisible; who will be discovered first? I lose myself in these tense moments of hope and expectation, so focused on my surroundings that it almost hurts. What a rush!

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Photos by NB Hunter. © All Rights Reserved.