Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography


with 36 comments


White-Tailed Deer Fawn 9883

The day after we returned from the big three-week trip to the Midwest, our across-the-street neighbor told me that while we were away she’d seen two white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginiana) on our lawn, a fawn and its limping mother. Some days later, on June 28, I was driving down our street on my way home when, sure enough, I spotted the deer on our front lawn. I pulled over to the curb, slowly and quietly got out, put a long lens on my camera, and took some pictures. I noticed that the doe still limped as she walked and that not one but two fawns were following her. You’re looking at one of them.

(I’ve been photographing back here in Texas for five weeks already but you’re still going to see more pictures from Missouri, Illinois, and Indiana.)

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 1, 2016 at 4:44 AM

Posted in nature photography

Tagged with , , , , ,

36 Responses

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  1. Deer fawn are known to be some of the most difficult creatures to photograph. Congratulations on a terrific shot.

    Pairodox Farm

    August 1, 2016 at 4:57 AM

    • Thanks, D. Fortunately this fawn was roughly parallel to the camera’s sensor and stood still long enough for me to take a few pictures before it scampered off to follow its mother. I’d have preferred a natural background rather than a wooden fence, but we take what we can get.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 1, 2016 at 5:02 AM

  2. Well spotted!


    August 1, 2016 at 5:51 AM

  3. Never mind the fence. The light allowed you to capture the texture of the coat, and beautifully. After pondering that row of spots along its back for a while, I found this, from a University of Georgia extension pamphlet about white-tail fawns:

    “On either side of the back from the neck to the tail there are two rows of white spots that almost touch each other. There are about 30 to 40 spots in each of these rows. Scattered on each side of the fawn there are about 100 more spots of various size as shape. These spots are very vivid in young fawns, but because the hairs are not white to the roots, as the fawn grows older some of the white is worn away, and the spots begin to fade before the fawn molts into its winter coat.”

    “The fawn’s coat is well suited for hiding in the forest. Sunlight filtering through the leaves casts a dappled pattern that matches the coat, making it almost invisible. However, the spotted pattern is not good camouflage in grassy areas where newborn fawns can be easily spotted.”

    I’d love to think the writer was as intentional with the wordplay in that last sentence as Gallivanta was with hers.


    August 1, 2016 at 7:33 AM

    • So for you a fence is no offense and you’re willing to fawn all over the photograph. Thanks also for spotting that information about spotting.

      Speaking of dappling, the light on the fawn was dappled, thanks to an Ashe juniper tree in that part of the yard. I’d have preferred even lighting, but as with the fence, I had to take what I could get. The same holds for viewers of this blog’s photographs, which appear in a much-reduced size and which are further compromised in some cases by WordPress’s algorithms. The texture of the coat that you mentioned looks a lot better in the original photograph because of all the extra detail. That’s something you’re familiar with now from the large size of the images your camera captures.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 1, 2016 at 8:01 AM

  4. What a fantastic capture, Steve! I wish that, with all those deer and their fawns around in our yard and me taking lots of pictures, I had taken only just one shot as good as yours.
    I hope that the doe will recover. Once in a while we see limping deer here, too. Life is really dangerous for them, with all the cars, isn’t it?
    Enjoy the week,


    August 1, 2016 at 9:05 AM

    • Thanks, Pit. Large numbers can be impressive but can also be a disadvantage. Even in my case with just three deer the animals were spread out a bit; not all were in the same plane, and not all were in good poses at the same time. That’s why I decided to focus on one deer.

      I occasionally see dead deer in Austin that have gotten hit by cars, but I don’t know if a car caused the injury that made the mother deer limp. I didn’t see any obvious wound, although there could have been one on the opposite side of the deer.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 1, 2016 at 5:37 PM

      • Of course, it doesn’t have to have been a car that made the doe limp. I was just assuming.


        August 1, 2016 at 5:39 PM

        • Right. There are plenty of other hazards out there in nature, like steep slopes and loose rocks.

          Steve Schwartzman

          August 1, 2016 at 5:41 PM

  5. It looks healthy. There are trees and a shallow ravine behind our house leading to a larger woods. There is a deer trail running from our back yard to the larger woods. It’s been there a very very long time, I imagine. We get regular visitors as they pass in and out of the woods. Sometimes they lie down and sleep in the yard.

    Jim Ruebush

    August 1, 2016 at 9:23 AM

    • From what I’ve read, white-tailed deer cover roam over large parts of the United States, and you’ve confirmed that Iowa is one of those places. We’ve observed the same thing you did about deer occasionally sleeping in our yard.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 1, 2016 at 5:40 PM

  6. Great capture, Steven. She sure is a pretty little gal. Sorry about her mom.


    August 1, 2016 at 9:42 AM

    • I haven’t seen this little troupe since then so I don’t know their condition now. I’ll provide a follow-up if I see these deer again.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 1, 2016 at 7:11 PM

  7. Beautiful shot, well captured, Steven


    August 2, 2016 at 2:22 AM

  8. What a beauty!!!


    August 2, 2016 at 7:46 AM

  9. Oh Steve what a treat .. And this fawn is quite beautiful! Thank you so much for sharing


    August 2, 2016 at 9:12 PM

  10. Despite our wooded surroundings, we rarely see deer in our neighborhood. Always lovely to see a fawn or two of which there are plenty in the Quabbin area. It’s a sweet pose.

    Steve Gingold

    August 3, 2016 at 4:09 AM

    • Now you’ve got me wondering why you don’t often see deer in your wooded surroundings. They’re common in my neighborhood in northwest Austin. The other day about 2/3 of a mile from home I saw two bucks together but didn’t have my camera with me.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 3, 2016 at 4:19 AM

      • Oh, I’ve seen a few bucks lately…in my wallet.

        I don’t know why I don’t see them. We have a large wooded area behind the house and the Holyoke Mountain Range is only a few miles away. We have had turkeys in the yard and a few times a bear has wiped out our bird feeders. Someone saw a fisher and foxes are not uncommon. I am sure there are deer around here, but I have not seen one in the yard since the first year we moved here (1985).

        Steve Gingold

        August 3, 2016 at 4:43 AM

        • Not a single deer in your yard in 30 years: I imagine you’d enjoy bucking that trend. What a contrast to my Great Hills part of Austin, where it’s not unusual to see deer walking on the streets and in unfenced parts of people’s yards. Shortly after we moved to our current house in 2004, I accidentally left a side gate open and later found a doe and fawn had wandered into our back yard. A few years ago an apparently sick deer died on our front lawn.

          Steve Schwartzman

          August 3, 2016 at 5:14 AM

  11. I just saw a video today of introduced white tailed deer in New Zealand eating an endangered dotteral’s eggs. I had no idea that deer actually eat anything but plant life until now! 🙂


    August 3, 2016 at 6:39 AM

    • That’s a double “I didn’t know” for me: that these deer sometimes eat eggs, and that these deer have been introduced into New Zealand. But then everything seems to have been introduced into New Zealand—alas.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 3, 2016 at 6:52 AM

    • At least I get to see white-tailed deer with no guilt because they’re native here.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 3, 2016 at 6:53 AM

  12. Lovely home welcoming.


    August 29, 2016 at 12:31 PM

  13. Wow. Great shot!!! So cute


    October 26, 2016 at 10:40 AM

  14. […] seen many deer, even in my yard in Austin, but not till October 22nd of last year in Zion National Park did I see a deer drinking. The water […]

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