Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

White-tailed deer stag

with 36 comments

I opened my front door a couple of hours ago and saw a white-tailed deer stag (Odocoileus virginianus) nestled on the lawn. Getting my camera, which conveniently had a long lens on it, I quietly opened the door again, went outside, and gradually inched my way forward. At some point the deer became aware of me, stood up, and slowly started to walk away. That’s when I noticed it had a limp in one of its rear legs. Keeping my distance, I followed as it walked across the street and began eating some of my neighbor’s plants and even what appeared to be grass in the lawn. I assume the stag was hungry enough to eat things that deer generally avoid. From time to time the stag stopped and looked up at me, as shown here, but never seemed frightened.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman


Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 2, 2019 at 11:50 AM

Posted in nature photography

Tagged with , , ,

36 Responses

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  1. Intimate portrait, beautifully framed.

    Michael Scandling

    November 2, 2019 at 11:59 AM

  2. What a stunning portrait Steve.


    November 2, 2019 at 1:02 PM

  3. Great shot, Steve! You had the long lens ready at the right moment. How often do we miss a shot, because we are not prepared for it!

    Peter Klopp

    November 2, 2019 at 3:25 PM

    • After I spotted the deer I still had to go back inside, get the camera, put on my shoes, and only then go outside for pictures. This was a relatively docile deer—perhaps because it was injured.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 2, 2019 at 3:30 PM

  4. A great opportunity and well captured. It’s a very nice portrait.

    Steve Gingold

    November 2, 2019 at 5:30 PM

  5. They don’t really eat our grass [I wish they would and thus help me with mowing], but they do seem to find something very tasty in the lawn.


    November 2, 2019 at 6:34 PM

    • I couldn’t tell whether the deer was eating the grass or things in the grass, or possibly both.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 2, 2019 at 7:25 PM

  6. Yes, a great shot. And a very likable face.

    Robert Parker

    November 2, 2019 at 9:42 PM

    • I was fortunate in getting quite a few pictures of this deer. Not all the pictures turned out equally likable, even if the face was.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 2, 2019 at 10:06 PM

  7. A perfect offering for yesterday’s Texas high holiday: the opening day of deer season. This handsome buck may have looked at the calendar and decided it was time to head for a no-hunting zone. It is a beautiful portrait; I’m glad he was so accomodating.

    I’ve always referred to male white tails as bucks, even though I know ‘stag’ also refers to male deer. I was curious about the difference, and found that the main difference is one of size. Male deer all are bucks, while ‘stag’ usually is reserved for large bucks. Since white tails are relatively small, they’re generally called bucks. The largest male deer often are called ‘bulls,’ as in bull elk or bull moose. I’d never quite realized that elk and moose are members of the deer family, too.


    November 3, 2019 at 7:38 AM

    • From now on I’ll accommodate your comment and will no longer stagger in my use of stag and buck; you might say I’ll buck the trend of my previous usage. Bull might have been even more appropriate for this post, given that I took all the pictures of the deer on Bull Ridge Dr.

      The collective name for deer, elk, moose, etc., is cervids.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 3, 2019 at 7:49 AM

  8. uh ohh. You might consider alerting the authorities because it could have wasting disease. Also they carry ticks 😦


    November 3, 2019 at 9:18 AM

    • The deer was limping in a way that suggested an injury rather than a disease.
      Although ticks exist here, they’re not the problem they’ve become in some other parts of the country.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 3, 2019 at 9:46 AM

      • Ticks have become a problem because the deer population has risen. We never had them at all before the deer became prevalent. I’m glad to hear it didn’t look diseased but grazing isn’t normal behavior for deer.


        November 4, 2019 at 8:34 AM

        • The grazing stood out for me, too. I wonder if the injury made it harder for the deer to get to its normal places and kinds of food.

          Steve Schwartzman

          November 4, 2019 at 9:06 AM

          • I just looked up wasting disease and loss of fear of humans, and a lowered head as you show here, as well as weight loss and staggering are symptoms of it. It is a progressive disease, so it could appear as simply injured at this stage. As long as you don’t eat its brain there is no need for worry.


            November 5, 2019 at 7:40 AM

            • Thanks for checking into that. From what you found, maybe this was a case of wasting disease after all.
              No, I won’t be doing any brain eating, so there’s no need to worry.

              Steve Schwartzman

              November 5, 2019 at 8:20 AM

              • It sounds like it must act in a similar way on deer as rabies does on dogs and other mammals. yikes.


                November 5, 2019 at 9:21 PM

  9. That’s a beautifully framed photo, Steve, and a moving story.


    November 3, 2019 at 12:15 PM

    • It’s a unique framing of a deer for me. Our positions made that framing a natural choice.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 3, 2019 at 1:26 PM

  10. What a surprise, and a lovely shot too, Steve! I’m sad that it is injured and I hope it gets better and soon.


    November 3, 2019 at 2:40 PM

    • A decade ago when I walked out our door I found a doe that was in the final stage of some disease and didn’t have the energy even to stand up. It soon died. The buck on our lawn yesterday limped but otherwise seemed okay. I wonder now if a car had hit it—something that I’ve seen happen.

      For whatever reason, we mostly see does and rarely bucks, so for photographic purposes I was happy for the chance to show a deer with antlers.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 3, 2019 at 3:24 PM

      • Bob was a first hand witness to seeing a deer get hit… in the dark… it was expensive to fix. Our insurance company said that he was one of the lucky ones. Apparently, many people end up wearing the deer in their laps when they hit them. 😯


        November 3, 2019 at 9:19 PM

        • Yes, he was lucky that only his car got damaged and not his body. If a deer jumps out in front of you at night I guess there’s really nothing you can do.

          Steve Schwartzman

          November 3, 2019 at 9:35 PM

  11. It’s always sad to watch an injured animal, but I hope he will find enough food and make it.


    November 3, 2019 at 5:37 PM

    • Our neighborhood has no shortage of deer, so on the whole they seem to find enough to eat. In fact city authorities discourage people from feeding deer, lest their numbers get out of hand, as they have in some places.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 3, 2019 at 7:18 PM

      • The situation here is very similar, Steve. Officials have even considered opening a hunt on urban deer, but the plans were scrapped due to indignant outcries from the community.


        November 3, 2019 at 8:55 PM

  12. I am now leaving your main page on the screen and refresh – so the past six or so posts can be easily seen at once (when back home/off line) – — you’ve been really busy, and often your posts are multi-layered with an amazing queue of images. I loved the duck weed and the reflections – soothing, but the duck weed reminded me of ‘bluegill fishing’ with my father!

    The cormorant on the sign was fun as well!
    Just finished the last ‘load’ of the move today and am finally in one gps point – but still no internet at the apt!

    Playamart - Zeebra Designs

    November 5, 2019 at 6:08 PM

    • As the duckweed reminded you of fishing with your father, your statement about still having no Internet in your apartment in Latin America reminded me that when I lived in Honduras 50 years ago the Internet didn’t even exist, yet somehow we all survived. How the world has changed. And at last you’re finally in one place again.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 6, 2019 at 6:27 AM

      • Sí, in one place and – aside from people that I care about – I would not miss the internet at all…. The WP friends can become as special as one’s own family, and I include you in that group…

        Are you curious or wistful about returning to Honduras and noting the changes? I saw headlines about flooding in Guatemala – the rainy season must be a long one this year…

        Playamart - Zeebra Designs

        November 7, 2019 at 3:46 PM

        • Thanks, Lisa. Let’s hope we get to me in person someday.

          Yes, I’d like to visit Honduras again after all these years. What gives me pause is all the violence and gang activity there now. I’m afraid I’d be an obvious target, especially if I went around with a high-end camera. In contrast, when I lived there 50 years ago I felt safe to wander around anywhere, day or night.

          Steve Schwartzman

          November 7, 2019 at 4:16 PM

  13. Oh what a beauty he is! I would have raced for my camera too .. long lens perfect


    November 9, 2019 at 12:41 AM

    • It has happened that by the time I go for my camera (and change lenses if necessary), my subject is gone. Fortunately this time I was able to get some decent pictures.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 9, 2019 at 6:13 AM

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