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Deer encounters my photos, my words

I encounter quite a few deer, the subject of my featured gallery for August, during my wildlife photo hikes. The woods are full of them and at times they seem as curious about my presence as I am surprised by theirs.

Many of my deer photos were taken during that extended moment when the deer stop their activities and stare, trying to determine if I’m a threat they should flee or if they can ignore me. It’s almost as if they are posing for the camera. Most of the time they flee. But sometimes they’ll hang around so I can get a few more photos.

A mother deer and two fawns rest in the shade in Sharon Woods Metro Park, Westerville, Ohio.

One of my favorite photos is the shot of a mother deer and her fawns resting in tall grass in the shade of a tree. I'd like to say that I staked out the spot for hours waiting for the deer to arrive, but the fact is I just came across the scene while walking a trail in a local park.

The mother and fawns were in high grass only about 15 feet from a trail, resting in the shade of a tree beside a sun-drenched field. They were so close that I couldn't photograph them as a group with the long lens I was using so I had to back off about 20 feet.

The mother was watching me closely.

I took five or six shots before the mother started getting nervous. After a couple of more shots she stood up, nudged the fawns behind her, looked at me and started stomping her front hooves. She appeared ready to charge.

I took that as my signal to leave. The fawns ran off as I backed away, followed soon by the mother. But I got my shot.

A deer stares at the camera in Sharon Woods Metro Park, Westerville, Ohio.

I have had some even less-cordial encounters, though. The deer, usually a male but occasionally a female with fawns nearby, shows threatening behavior - stomping a forefoot, shaking its head somewhat violently and occasionally taking a step or two in my direction. I slowly back away when that happens.

One memorable less-than-cordial encounter happened on a trail through the woods in a local park. I saw four or five female deer to the right of the trail and stopped to get some photos before they left.

A deer stands in a field in Prairie Oaks Metro Park, West Jefferson, Ohio.

But they didn’t leave. Instead, they all looked right at me.

As I was grabbing some photos, I realized the deer weren’t looking at me. They were looking past me.

A glance over my shoulder explained why. A large male, with a large rack of antlers, had stepped from behind a fallen tree that had blocked my view. He was about 10 yards away and wasn’t pleased that I was between him and the others. He made a loud snorting sound, reared up on his hind legs and stomped both forefeet, then shook his head in a threatening manner.

I moved about 20 yards up the trail, keeping my eye on the deer at all times. He immediately crossed the trail, rejoining the others, and they moved deeper into the woods.

A mother deer and two fawns rest in the shade in Sharon Woods Metro Park, Westerville, Ohio.
A deer with velvet-covered antlers stands in a field in Sharon Woods Metro Park, Westerville, Ohio.
A deer stares at the camera in Sharon Woods Metro Park, Westerville, Ohio.
A deer stands in a field in Prairie Oaks Metro Park, West Jefferson, Ohio.
Two deer walk in the water at the edge of Schrock Lake in Sharon Woods Metro Park, Westerville, Ohio.
Deer with antlers staying alert, Sharon Woods Metro Park, Westerville, Ohio.
A fawn stands in a field in Sharon Woods Metro Park, Westerville, Ohio.
A deer checks out an observer in Sharon Woods Metro Park, Westerville, Ohio.
A deer looks between trees in the forest in Sharon Woods Metro Park, Westerville, Ohio.
A deer leans to look around a tree in Sharon Woods Metro Park, Westerville, Ohio.
A deer rests in the woods in Maumee Bay State Park, Oregon, Ohio.
Two deer, one with tags on its ears, stay alert in a field in Sharon Woods Metro Park, Westerville, Ohio.
A deer looks between plants in a field in Prairie Oaks Metro Park, West Jefferson, Ohio.
A deer stares at an observer in Sharon Woods Metro Park, Westerville, Ohio.
Two deer rest at the edge of the forest in Sharon Woods Metro Park, Westerville, Ohio.
A deer stands in a field in Sharon Woods Metro Park, Westerville, Ohio.
A deer looks away in a field in Prairie Oaks Metro Park, West Jefferson, Ohio.
A deer blends with the background in Maumee Bay State Park, Oregon, Ohio.
A deer in a field watches an observer, Prairie Oaks Metro Park, West Jefferson, Ohio.
A deer looks over tall plants in Slate Run Metro Park, Canal Winchester, Ohio.
A close view of a deer in the woods, Blendon Woods Metro Park, Westerville, Ohio.
A deer blends with its surroundings in Sharon Woods Metro Park, Westerville, Ohio.
A deer stays alert in the woods, Sharon Woods Metro Park, Westerville, Ohio.
A deer nibbles on plants in Sharon Woods Metro Park, Westerville, Ohio.
Deer standing in the woods, Sharon Woods Metro Park, Westerville, Ohio.
A deer stands deep in the woods in Sharon Woods Metro Park, Westerville, Ohio.
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All photos and text © Copyright - Pat D. Hemlepp. All rights reserved.

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