Oh Deer

Deer near our home

Recently I’ve been having some close encounters with some deer. It’s been pretty cool. And it’s conflicting for me mentally, but I’m going to enjoy the moments as I have them now. How is this a conflict?

After decades of living in western NY where we are overrun by deer, I see the harm of overpopulation — state forests not seeing viable new growth since the deer keep eating down the new plants and trees, car accidents (the question was not if you hit a deer, but when). And it was not uncommon for deer to hit us, rather than us hitting them.

One time the kids and I were heading to Swain (the ski resort I used to work at). CJ was driving, and I was in the passenger seat as we went up a hill. As we spotted a deer ahead, he slowed down to about 10 miles-per-hour. Very slow. The deer made it across the road ahead of us, paused at the edge of the wood, turned, looked at the car and charged it, nailing the door on my side.

It put a good enough dent in the door that we couldn’t open it. I had to crawl out the driver’s side to get to work, and Chris had to hammer it out when I went home so we could open it again. Crazy.

One of the perks of country living was the barter system. People loved my husband’s art, and they also loved hunting. Instead of paying cash for the art, we often found our freezer filled with venison (and sometimes bear meat). It was a good system where everyone benefited.

Now, however, my encounters with deer are more personal. I don’t want to eat these. And the ones I have met recently are not in areas where they can destroy cars.

We spotted a deer out our window a few times over the past year.

Deer spotted outside our window

Last week Chris and I were enjoying an evening outdoors, playing Rummy while sitting at a picnic table outside our abode. As Chris ran inside to get something, heard a sound. Looking up, I saw a deer quite close.

Deer walking near me.

I took a few pictures, and it meandered over to the propane tanks for a snack from the plants around the tanks. Here’s a video I took. You can hear our music in the background. At one point you can see it’s ears go up. That’s when Chris was coming down the stairs. He saw the deer before opening the door to come out so he stayed and watched a bit. A little later it comes closer to me, and you can see it’s catching my scent. It was very unafraid. My guess is that it knows our voices, scent and even the sound of our music since we leave our windows open a lot. We were just around the corner from our windows here.

And then came yesterday. Chris and I were hiking in the woods behind our place. We were a bit lower down the mountain from the place I sat a few months ago, filming Chris as he took some jumps on his snowboard. As I was recording, I turned around and saw a deer slightly behind me, watching along with me. It was funny.

Today we startled a deer, who was lying down for a rest. The doe stood up as we drew near (not a great survival skill — it’s what drew our attention to her. I think we would not have seen her if she didn’t move). We turned our backs to her and kept walking so she would understand we weren’t going to cause her harm.

Deer checking us out.

It worked 🙂 She relaxed, even as I took a sweaty selfie.

I kept looking back, and was happy to see that she went back to her relaxation mode. She blended in so well. Do you see her in the middle of this next image?

Deer now relaxing.
Deer resting.
Zoomed in image of deer relaxing.

The deer sighting on the walk was really fun, and it was still on my mind as the day started winding down. We took a twilight dip in the pool, and there was another deer ready to hang out with us.

Deer by the pool.

It makes sense Jiminy Peak has a deer as it’s logo.

Jiminy Peak Logo with Deer over the name.

Kind of cracks me up. The kids work at Deer Valley and we have our deer logo.

Guess it’s time for me to stop thinking of deer as a threat, and it’s okay to think the deer are dear 😉

7 responses to “Oh Deer”

  1. I saw one this morning walking Chester. It just looked at him and blended back in the woods. Beautiful!

  2. Loved your Word Quilt, Chrissie, and the pics and videos! When Dad thought something was going on with his heart, he had Joy drive him to the Glens Falls Hospital from their home in Fort Ann. On the way a deer ran down a small hill on the side of the road and Dad told Joy to go slowly because deer usually travel in twos. Sure enough, down came the other deer to cross the road in front of them. Mike has hit – or been run into – by at least four, maybe five deer. I don’t think there was ever much if any damage to his car. But he sure is a magnet for deer!

    Your freezer full of venison and bear meat reminded me of a story from our cousin Kim ;Lamos Matthews. Her grandmother lived in Long Lake and was very poor. Someone she knew hit a deer – maybe even shot a deer – and filled her icebox with venison. Some busybody in Long Lake called the county game protector, our Grandfather Merritt Lamos, and reported that Kim’s Grandmother had a refrigerator full of illegally obtained venison (it wasn’t hunting season). Grandpa took several weeks to follow up on the report and by then the Grandmother had fed her family well and there was no venison left in the house. The Grandmother never forgot what Grandpa had done for her family and how he had deliberately delayed his follow up. It was a legend passed down in the family. Made me proud of Grandpa. We come from good stock!

    Aunt Jan

  3. Wow, there seems to be more and more of them, and they seem to be getting less afraid of us, do you find?
    I was riding in a car once – my friend was driving, luckily keeping a lot of car lengths behind the driver in front of us – and we saw a deer jump out from the bush suddenly right in front of the car ahead – and it *just* managed to sail past it – but the *second* deer right behind it – bang!! Struck so badly. :’-(

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