Wolves can walk with deer until dinnertime:  just as lions can be close to a gazelle herd without alarming the gazelles, wolves that are not on the hunt will not necessarily alarm the deer.  On the other hand, I have seen fully-grown deer running away from a stalking house cat.  The kitty may have been delusional, but the deer feared her intent.

Deer sense the “dominant wolf” who intends to kill.  Similarly, they distinguish between the good hunter and the harmless boy just walking the woods.  That’s why the hunter might not see any deer, while the boy practically trips over them.

Tracking deer:  when the deer walk, you walk;  when the deer stop, you stop;  when the deer run, you run;  when the deer crawl, you crawl.  So stay in shape.

Deer are curious.  There comes a point in the chase when a deer wants to get a look at whatever is tracking him.  That’s when the hunter shoots.  Turn and check behind while you walk the woods.  What’s going on behind you could be just as important as what’s ahead.

Describing a trophy rack to your friends:  “The deer zig-zagged his way toward me.”  A buck with a big rack has trouble moving thorough the woods, and will wander all over the place to avoid snagging the antlers on branches.  That’s why we have seen more big bucks in mature hardwoods than anywhere else.

Whitetail interpret eye contact as a threat.  I have been able to get within 10 feet of several deer, as long as I looked through the camera lens or beside or beyond them.  As soon as I made eye contact, they would give a tremendous whoosh, spring straight into the air, and be out of there.

Bucks and does do not hang out together, except during the rut.  Bucks chase the fawns away from the does, and we see three or four fawns hanging out together, looking forlorn, every fall.  This means Mom is otherwise occupied.

A really big buck will drag his feet.  In a skiff of snow, from a short distance, the track looks as though a cross-country skier has passed by.

In the winter, you can tell from urine in the snow whether you are following a buck or a doe.  Does leave a wide splash pattern, while the bucks, logically enough, leave a narrow stream.

Most deer are accustomed to machinery noise, and will become quite curious.  We have seen deer following a skidder, coming into the yard when a vehicle pulls in, and standing still, ten feet from a car, looking back at the people who stopped to look at them.

Web site designed & hosted by R.Breton © 2006 at Homestead