Saturday, December 6, 2008
The first morning of Pennsylvania's rifle deer season and every deer in this photography is a legal target--if a hunter has the proper tags and they are in an area where hunting is permitted. Fortunately these animals are safe, unless they stray from the posted sanctuary or a wildlife criminal drives by and shoots them from his vehicle.
It is unclear just what happened, but on the third morning of season, I realized that the large doe which is standing to the left side of the picture and looking to the left, was missing and most likely dead.
She was a stunning photographic subject when she was standing in a good position, but many readers were concerned about her health when they noted how thin and bony she appeared in many shots. This thin look was most likely a combination of genetics and a result of the strain of raising a large number of fawns.
It is most likely that I will never know what happened to her. It is very possible that she strayed from the posted sanctuary and was legally killed, but I am leaning toward the view that she was taken by a road hunter, since I have seen some well known practitioners of this crime driving past since season opened.
As it stands, a favorite deer that has provided countless hours of viewing pleasure is gone. There is a remote possibility that she will yet return, but she never missed a day of putting in an appearance in the past, so it seems likely that she is gone forever.
Road hunting was one of the most common violations, which I encountered in my years as a Deputy Wildlife Conservation Officer.
For more Camera Critters photos, click Here!