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