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Phantoms of the Forest.

March 17, 2012

White-Tailed Deer

The title of this post is an ode to one of Metro Parks system’s excellent informative signs that they scatter throughout their parks- here’s a look at it.  Click on the image for a closer look.

This phantom referred to is of course the White-Tailed Deer, the largest mammal to be regularly seen in the central Ohio area.  I posted about this handsome creature last spring after encountering two does and a fawn.

Not that I need an excuse to post pictures of such photogenic creatures 😉 but these past few months I’ve encountered them in the woods, where they truly reminded me of phantoms.

It’s quite easy to miss seeing deer.  They stand still when a human is (comparatively) blundering around quite loudly in their area, keeping an eye upon the intruder.  A good thing about winter is that you can spot them more easily since you can see through the trees without masses of leaves obscuring your view.  However, even then it isn’t a sure thing to spot them- their color and texture blend in so well with their surroundings.  This is their greatest defense against predators.

What follows are photos from two almost dreamy encounters with phantoms of the forest in Ohio woodlands.  I never get tired of seeing them.  Notice the antlers on the two bucks, and the two does who were bedded down on the leafy forest floor for an afternoon’s rest.  Also notice how my camera likes to focus on things other than what I’m taking pictures of!  But this reinforces how difficult it can be to spot them, and gives an ethereal quality to the encounter.  The second encounter is clearer, and the does returned to eating while I was still in sight.  Glad I didn’t disturb them too badly.

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23 Comments leave one →
  1. March 17, 2012 8:18 pm

    The last one is my favorite!!! It can be very difficult to spot them unless they are in an open field.

  2. March 17, 2012 9:17 pm

    Yup, deer are very good at hiding when they want to stay hidden. I have lots of photos of brush myself. Even tougher to get a good photo of are elk, which are 2 to 3 times the size of deer, but are mostly nocturnal here in Michigan. Then there are ruffed grouse, I don’t know if you have them in Ohio, they make deer seem like a total breeze to photograph.

    • March 25, 2012 10:01 am

      There are Ruffed Grouse in Ohio, but not very many (I think)…wow, Elk would be awesome to see!

  3. March 17, 2012 10:10 pm

    Great photos, Tracy. The deer do have an eerily, ghostly feel. I like your phantom description. :-0

  4. March 17, 2012 10:49 pm

    These are terrific! I’ve been wanting to get out and photograph the White Tails in our area, but just haven’t been able to… I felt like I was right there with you! 🙂

  5. March 18, 2012 6:49 am

    Excellent work. Trees making focussing very hard.

    • March 25, 2012 10:06 am

      Ugh. It’s amazing how a camera will focus on a single twig or blade of tall grass when you don’t want it to, but then when you actually want to take a picture of something like a single flower, it focuses on the background. Manual focusing options have saved my sanity more than once!

  6. March 18, 2012 9:24 am

    Nice shots. I have never been able to get a decent shot of one of these “phantoms”. They disappear so easily among the trees.

  7. March 18, 2012 12:24 pm

    Fun pictures … sometimes it makes you wonder … are the deer “people watching”? 🙂

  8. March 19, 2012 9:43 am

    I love deer and I love these photos, Tracy!

  9. March 19, 2012 1:20 pm

    Nice shots! These days everytime I see deer they are standing on the side of the road watching me drive by. By the time I can backup or turn around to say hi, they’re gone.

  10. March 19, 2012 3:20 pm

    Very beautiful — thank you.

  11. March 20, 2012 12:06 am

    They are beautiful! They really do blend in well with their surroundings.

  12. March 21, 2012 10:29 am

    I love deer so much and these lovely pictures capture so well their gentle and curious energy. Whenever I encounter deer in the woods I feel as if I’ve encountered enchanted creatures…

  13. March 24, 2012 7:12 am

    Hi. We have lots of deer since there is a wintering area not far away. This year we had only four deer as regular visitors. They come to our compost heap to eat carrots ends and use the trails around our property. I am always amazed that, look though I may, they always seem to see me first! Your photos give them a ghost-like quality. jane

    • March 25, 2012 10:08 am

      Thanks Jane! I debated about posting theses shots, but the ‘phantom of the forest’ signs in the metro parks made it seem appropriate.

  14. March 24, 2012 3:27 pm

    Great pictures W.S….you are exactly right on being able to spot deer in the trees…we see lots of them to when we are in the nearby state park or along a creek or stream, if there is cover…but you are soooo lucky to see a buck…we can see sometime 6 or 10 deer but not one with antlers…great eye to get these…thanks…

    • March 25, 2012 10:03 am

      Jim, you’re right, it’s hard to spot bucks here too- the 2 I spotted in these photos were exceptions. Typically I’ll see does and the occasional fawn in season.

  15. March 25, 2012 10:04 am

    Thanks for the wonderful comments everyone!

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