Saturday, June 27, 2009

Camera Critters: Close And Personal With A Whitetail Fawn



On June 15th, I posted a close-up of a fawn before I left for a trip to Elk County. At that time I promised to give more details about this, but then of course photos from the Elk County trip were fresh on my mind and I have not told the story of the fawn. It seems that I am getting very good at promising more photos and information, about a subject and then moving on without addressing it in more detail.

I noticed that my favorite whitetail doe was still extremely pregnant when she visited the food plot on Saturday Morning June 13th. As I drove in the lane that evening I saw her go around the corner of an old house foundation in a "sneaking run". As she usually stands alert watching me arrive, or approaches the vehicle, I was almost certain that the long expected event had occurred.

I got on watch by the food plot and soon she arrived. Yes, her flanks were now sunken, indicating that she had given birth.


Sunken flanks: Abdomen still looks enlarged, but that is from stretching


I realized that the fawn was probably near the old house foundation so I took the camcorder on the tripod and the 30-D with 70-200mm 2.8 lens and went in search of it. I ordinarily would not recommend this course of action, but this is a very unique situation. These deer are completely acclimated to me and were not frightened by any of what is described here. In fact this particular doe will often fall in with me when I am walking in the area and follow to the side or slightly behind me. In this instance she soon followed me, a short distance behind, stopping to browse.


I stood still for a time when I reached the foundation and then was distracted by two bucks passing by and photographed them. When I looked back the doe was gone, but soon I noticed her walking a roadway some distance away. I followed at quite a distance. Soon she went into the woods and then doubled back toward the foundation. I slowly retraced my steps and started in the lane on foot. The doe walked into the lane and then looked back into the woodland. I positioned the video camera and began filming. Then the moment I had been waiting for arrived-the fawn stepped from the bushes, and the doe began grooming and nursing it.


I See The Fawn At Last

I decided to drop the tripod as low to the ground as possible to get a different perspective and suddenly the fawn spied me and began staggering toward me. A tripod was too unwieldy for this, so I dismounted the camcorder from it and engaged the image stabilization. Suddenly the fawn was under the tripod and then it was nuzzling my knee. At one point in time I rested the rear of the camcorder on the ground and fired up at the fawn with the lens on extreme wide angle. At times I placed the camcorder of the ground and took stills with the 17-40mm, but the light was so low that it was difficult to get sharp photos.

This Is Close: probably 2-3'

At one point the young animal even sniffed the camcorders' microphone.

The Young Are Inquisitive

In time the fawn rejoined the doe and they went into the nearby woodland where they interacted for quite some time, before it bedded down in a thicket.

Fawn In Woods


Hiding From Predators

It is likely that this doe has two fawns, but only time will tell. The fawns should start traveling with the doe during July and then one gets a better handle as to what actually occurred during the past birthing season.

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23 comments:

Cezar and Léia said...

Cool post and adorable pictures! Thanks for sharing!
Happy Camera critters!
purrs and love
Luna(from Brazil)

Snap said...

How magnificent! What a treat you've shared with us. Thank you!

alwaysbcmom.com said...

Thank you so much for sharing this experience and your photos with us. That fawn is absolutely adorable!

Mara said...

Amazing that they shared that with you! Beautiful shots

Carletta said...

Oh my gosh Willard!
Astounding images!!!
I think I was holding my breath and when I read it nuzzled your knee I took a deep breath.
Your words and photos present such a wonderful moment.
I love the next to last shot - so precious.

Bryan said...

"Fawn in Woods", the second to last photo, is an amazing capture. The fawn besides being curious also seems to be very unafraid. Is that characteristic of the animals in this area?

Faye Pekas said...

Oh my goodness, that baby melts my heart. These shots brought tears to my eyes, Willard. What a sweetheart and what a thrill it must have been for you getting so close.

fishing guy said...

Willard: That was a wonderful waalk with you into the early life of the fawn. Excellant captures and dome wonderful photos. I would have loved to be there.

imac said...

Wonderful tail-tale Willard, You really have that special touch.

Holly said...

oh wow. Good thing that mamma trusts you so much, that baby is precious.

Kerri said...

What an experience! I think we should call you the "deer whisperer".
Wonderful post Willard....this makes my heart sing!

Abe Lincoln said...

Boy these are fabulous photos, Willard. It is a shame a baby so trusting will be at the other end of a gun one day.

Louise said...

Wonderful story. Amazing photos. Love it!

Beautiful Creation said...

What a precious fawn. How trusting of a human! That is certainly a rare experience. They are the best fawn photos I've seen. Amazing!

Carol said...

That fawn in the woods is beautiful..looking you right in the eye..so to speak.

www.wildlifearoundus.blogspot.com

itsmynature said...

The young are indeed inquisitive. A few years back I was fly fishing my favorite stream just before dark. I was wading and the water was maybe up to my calf - no too deep. Anyway, I heard this splash behind me and though it was probably a dog. A few seconds later there was this nuzzling at my leg. It was a fawn. A couple of second later it bounded through the water to where its mother was and the two took off up the hill. An amazing experience.

myponderings said...

How darling! I just love baby animals of any type and particularly fawns.

Sue said...

I didn't realize the fawn wouldn't be afraid of humans. I wonder if it's afraid of other animals/predators. You got some great photos!

T and S said...

Awesome and incredible wildlife experience Willard, the images are beautiful and the shot of the fawn in the woods is a stunner...Thomas

Ranger said...

Great shots bud. Thanks.

Marvin said...

Amazing photography and a great narrative. Thank you, Willard.

Sara G said...

WOW, those are just wonderful photo's. I would love to have a copy of that next to last photo. Do you sell your pics??

HANNIBAL said...

Amazing story and photos! Thanks for visiting my sight, so that I could find yours...I love it! Excellent photography/commentary...I will be back!