I seem to have a talent for making friends with deer.
It has lead to excellent photos.
I never feed them. I just respect them and how they feel.
They are generally fearful of humans. I can understand that, and why.
I've learned their cues to this and how to interact with them to make them much more comfortable.
Eventually, they accept me, as one of their herd.
So far, deer in 3 different distant towns totally tolerate my presence.
But, I've never attempted it more locally, until this year.
It's in the beginning stages.
I've taken photos of them 5 times. Six times, if you include today.
Generally, the does are most receptive. Males, having testosterone, generally have less patience.
Thus, again generally the bucks are the least receptive.
However, it's not a rule.
Two times ago just, before dusk, there were 2 of them, a does and a young buck that were
lying down in a field about 15 feet from each other and they let me get near them
and sit down. I took some nice pictures of her, as she was closer.
Then, I got up and walked away from them to go back home.
The last time was 2 young bucks, probably 2 year olds. Their antlers are currently growing
and covered in felt. They tolerated me talking pictures of them as they ate leaves and grass.
I was probably 25 feet from them. They walked about another 20 feet from me
and I sat down, propped up against a tree. To my surprise they walked back close to me,
perhaps 12 feet from me and they both laid down near me. We spent about 20 minutes like
that with me taking pictures of them, before I got up and walked away. I always take it as a big
compliment, when a deer lays down near me. It says, I trust you. The defense of deer is their speed.
They can run very fast. However, they do not get up very quickly. So they won't lay down, unless they trust you at whatever distance you are from them.
Today as I arrived in that area, there were about 12 bucks. Older ones, yearlings and intermediate
aged ones. It was the largest gathering I've seen so far for this herd. While the older bucks ran away from me on previous days (my first experiences with the herd), none of them seemed all that nervous that I was there today. They were in the shade. Some were lying down. Again, I got good shots of them, and then I began to walk away from them. When I did, one of the bucks, perhaps one of the two who previously laid down near me on another day, started following me, as I walked away. He entered into the sunlight, so I stopped and then walked parallel to him to get on his sunnier side and take a couple of more shots of him. When I finally walked away, he had a look on his face, like he was disappointed, or confused, why was I leaving ?
Like humans, and other animals, they each have their own unique personalities and it can lead to friendships.
In the other 3 towns, it was always the matriarch of the herd that decided to accept me as part of the herd. And once the matriarch accepts you, the other deer in that herd will too.
Deer are like elephants in that the boss of the herd is the matriarch. However, in this local herd, it may be different. Perhaps the matriarch got hit by a car recently ?? I haven't seen a matriarch yet in this herd. There are some young does, but no older wiser matriarch, that I've seen. No boss of the herd.
Perhaps they feel a bit lost without one.