Thursday, March 21, 2013


White-tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus) are curious animals.  If you are walking through the woods and you see one and it doesn't run off immediately, stop in your tracks.  Remain as motionless as possible.

The deer will want to know what you are about.  They will try to get you to move. They will stomp their feet.  They sometimes snort.  They almost always will bob their heads from side - partly to try to get you to react and partly to get a better view of you.  Like in these photos of a doe from 2008.

Hey! What are you doing?

Maybe if I bob my head this way you'll move?

How about now?

Still nothing?

Okay.  I've seen enough.  I'm leaving now.

Sometimes if you remain still, the deer will actually approach closer.  Like this pair of yearlings photographed in August 2008.

I see you over there with the camera!

I see you too!

Don't make us bob our heads at you!

No reaction, huh? We're coming closer.

I will bob my head at you again!
No reaction from you?  What if I just stare at you instead?

What if I rotate my ears?

I'm coming up there too.

Now I am going to act shy.

Okay.  I am going to go eat  You stare at him for a while

Enough of this.  I am hungry too!

If you are patient when approaching White-tailed Deer,  you can often observe completely natural behaviors.  However, they will remain skittish.  It may seem that they are ignoring you, but if you move too quickly or make a noise that they do not like and they will show you their namesake tail as they quickly bound away.

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