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White-tail Thanksgiving

Thursday, November 27, 2014

If you do enough wildlife photography, you know a drop-everything moment when you see one. 

November 15, 2014, 7:53 AM.

Two herds of deer coming together in the slanting sun on the first morning after a heavy hoarfrost qualifies.  The light was ravishing. Something was going to go down, I could feel it.  Even if all they did was stand around like lawn art, it'd still be a great photo op.

I grabbed my camera, threw a jacket on, and eased the deck door open just enough to admit my 

The animals were more than halfway out the long meadow, and I didn't have time to rig up a monopod, so I leaned against the doorframe and steadied the lens on it, too. 

Sure enough, one doe from the first group broke out and approached another from the second group.

It's not hard to read the menace in Doe 1's ear position and stance. She's loaded for bear. 
I wondered if she knew Doe 2 from some other altercation?

Oh, man. Heraldic whitetails. I can't believe what I'm seeing. I really can't believe I'm getting it, either. 

I hate you. I've always hated you. 
I hate you, too.

Speechless. This is happening in my backyard, and if I'd decided to make another cup of tea, I'd have missed it all.

Doe 2 decides to get the hayull out of Dodge. One of the wonderful things about deer is those flexible spines. I'm not at all sure a cow (the only other bovid with which I have much experience) could crouch like this. I guess it's all about speed and leaping ability, and you need a flexible spine for those things.

Getting gone!

Doe 1 doesn't do more than a half-hearted charge. She knows she's bluffed her way to supremacy.
I'm glad no hoof met flesh.

The altercation ends, and the dominant doe and her herd trek slowly down into the west woods. Four minutes have elapsed. It's 7:57 AM. 

There are minutes, and then there are moments. These were golden. 


Hi, I live in Australia & just loved your photography plus commentary - fantastic photos - u must have been rapped 2 captured it all - well done

I feel I've led a sheltered life, having seen a lot of deer herds over the yrs. but never witnessing this doe behavior before!
Anyway, your blog is one more thing for us to be thankful for today. Happy Holiday to the entire Thompson-Zick clan.

Sensational! What a way to start your day. Thanks so much for posting this.

For some reason, the soundtrack from the rumble scene in West Side Story was playing in my mind during this, finger snaps and everything.

Posted by mimimanderly November 27, 2014 at 3:56 AM

Wow, incredible photos! Thanks for sharing them and Happy Thanksgiving.

What a delightful way to start this Thanksgiving !
WOW !! This is a "moment" not just a "minute" even viewing it on my computer screen. I envy
you the true moment !!!!
Thank you !!!!!
And Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family -- including Chet OF COURSE !!!


Posted by Anonymous November 27, 2014 at 6:21 AM

I bet Doe # 2 was messing with Doe # 1's buck. Or maybe the BUCK was messing...just sayin'.
And, as usual, the women have to settle the issue.

Loved this post!

Word, Donna. I thought this was a fitting post for Thanksgiving, first, of course, for the extravagant gift of beauty, which is all around us, all the time. We have only to be there to witness.

But I thought it appropriate on another level. When large groups of people come together, it can sometimes end up as a faceoff whether we want it to or not. These does show how it doesn't have to come to can just rare up.

Oh, that all the world's problems would be settled just so. That would give cause for the greatest thanksgiving ever!

This makes me wonder what all I have missed by not looking out the window more often.
Happy Thanksgiving!

My new motto--thanks to JZ--RARE UP!

Timing is everything, and you got this one perfectly! What a grand sight. I'm glad no one got hurt, and poor Doe #2 left with only her feelings hurt. Absolutely beautiful.

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