Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Oh, deer

with 38 comments

White-Tailed Deer Staring 6890

It isn’t only squirrels that stare me down from time to time: white-tailed deer do too. That’s hardly surprising, because the Great Hills section of Austin where I live is home to lots of these animals. People often see them walking through the streets and unfenced yards in the neighborhood, and more than once I’ve opened my door in the morning to find one or several deer on the front lawn. Two autumns in a row you’ve seen abstract pictures of the fallen antler of a male white-tailed deer here, but this is the first photograph of a whole deer, and presumably a female. To learn more about the white-tailed deer, Odocoileus virginianus, you can visit the National Geographic or Wikipedia.

I took this picture on May 16th along a winding little lane in my neighborhood called Q-Ranch Rd., which is so narrow that it’s a one-way street. So’s life, and there’s no going back.

© 2013 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

May 24, 2013 at 6:17 AM

38 Responses

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  1. This is the best way to shoot a deer, Steve. She is beautiful. I hope to see deer out my front door in the not to distant future!


    May 24, 2013 at 6:42 AM

    • That’s a good way you put it in your first sentence, Lynda. Good luck seeing deer outside your front door sometime soon.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 24, 2013 at 6:58 AM

  2. She’s soooo beautiful :). Great shot Steve!!


    May 24, 2013 at 7:14 AM

    • I was grateful that she stayed there staring long enough for me to switch to a telephoto lens. I couldn’t get a completely clear shot because of the intervening foliage, but I managed to frame the deer’s head in a little opening.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 24, 2013 at 7:25 AM

    • Readers may want to zip over to Cindy’s blog to see the photograph that her husband Mike took of a lady moose.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 24, 2013 at 8:01 AM

  3. She’s looking at you, but she’s listening to something else. Look at those ears! I don’t find the foliage distracting at all. It’s a much more interesting photo than if she’d merely been munching camellias on someone’s lawn or standing in the middle of a field.


    May 24, 2013 at 7:30 AM

    • I noticed the cocked ears, too, in the photograph, but not in real time (as computer programmers say). What I was aware of at the time was that the deer kept raising and lowering her head and neck. I’m guessing that was to try to catch a scent in the air to find out more about what I was.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 24, 2013 at 7:50 AM

  4. Beautiful capture. I love seeing these animals out in the wild.


    May 24, 2013 at 9:13 AM

    • Let’s say semi-wild for this picture. You see nature, but not far away in all directions were houses.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 24, 2013 at 9:44 AM

  5. Great photo Steve! I agree with shoreacres…the natural setting works the best. We used to have deer visit our back yard, but they were far too wary for me to get a photo of them. Maybe at our new home we have some visit us again.


    May 24, 2013 at 9:19 AM

    • They’re wary, all right, but a telephoto lens puts them in range. Good luck seeing (and photographing) some at your new home.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 24, 2013 at 9:45 AM

  6. Such a beauty!


    May 24, 2013 at 12:31 PM

  7. Clearly she wasn’t much unnerved by you if she kept right on chewing. What a happy meeting!


    May 24, 2013 at 3:00 PM

    • I guess I inspire confidence. All right, maybe not in deer, but my telephoto lens let me keep a respectable distance. Eventually the deer did move farther away. Photographically speaking, the meeting was a happy one, as you said.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 24, 2013 at 3:09 PM

  8. […] led me to stop along Q-Ranch Rd. on May 16th (and allowed me to see a couple of white-tailed deer as an unexpected bonus) was the Mexican hats, Ratibida columnifera, that were flowering alongside […]

  9. Loved your last sentence. Just saw The Great Gatsby this week. The universe must be trying to tell me something…..


    May 25, 2013 at 8:59 AM

    • Thanks for noticing that last sentence, which came to me as an afterthought.

      I’ve been trying to decide whether I want to see the latest film version of The Great Gatsby. I’ve almost invariably been disappointed with—or horrified by—updated versions of classics.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 25, 2013 at 9:08 AM

  10. Sigh, what a sweetheart — and such a lovely capture.


    May 25, 2013 at 9:59 AM

    • Thanks. I’ll add that there were no mosquitoes, but this far into the spring chiggers have become a problem in central Texas. Unfortunately I know whereof I speak.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 25, 2013 at 10:15 AM

  11. I, too, was struck by your last sentence. You’re right about updated versions so often being disappointments.

    With that many deer, are deer ticks and Lyme’s Disease a problem? Although deer populations are managed here somewhat, the ticks are on the rise and Lyme’s does happen here in Ill. ugh, I hate ticks.


    May 25, 2013 at 12:28 PM

    • Make that two commendations for the last sentence (thanks), and one confirmation that updated versions of classics are usually disappointments.

      Texas definitely has ticks, and some of them are vectors of human diseases, including Lyme disease:


      I spend a lot of time traipsing about in the prairies, fields, and woods here, but only twice that I can remember did I find a tick on me in recent years. There’s always some risk, but so far the things that have gotten at me (chiggers, mosquitoes, fire ants, nettles, prickles, etc.) have been annoying but not of any long-term consequence. I sure hope things get no worse than that.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 25, 2013 at 2:14 PM

  12. Great Capture!


    May 26, 2013 at 8:29 AM

  13. Great shot Steve. Sounds like the deer population is similar here on the east coast of Canada. We’ve developed so much that they have no choice but to come out of the woods. It bothers a lot of people but I think they are pretty cool and always consider it a privilege to see one up close.

    Brian Comeau

    May 27, 2013 at 8:33 PM

    • Agreed, development is a big part of it. My neighborhood, much of which was built about 30 years ago, is on hilly land with woods that were the ancient haunt of deer. The deer still hang out primarily in the neighborhood’s wooded ravines and canyons, but they often come out looking for plants to eat. Their numbers have increased to the point that they can be a nuisance (and a traffic hazard), so Austin has made it illegal to feed them.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 27, 2013 at 9:01 PM

  14. Oh, wow, quel magnifique spécimen!

    Anne Jutras

    July 26, 2013 at 8:51 PM

  15. […] as they nibbled various plants. I think these were mule deer, Odocoileus hemionus, rather than the white-tailed deer found in Austin as well as the Trans-Pecos, but if anyone knows for sure, please speak […]

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