When I tell people that we have a lot of deer in town, I’m not exaggerating. They seem to be everywhere. At times, they are pests and they will happily reduce home gardens to stubble. Sometimes they can also be a hazard because they often walk right across streets and are oblivious of traffic. Most times, they are beautiful to watch.
We are situated right at a boundary between white-tailed deer country and mule deer country, so we often see both. I’m aware that not everyone has the fortune (or misfortune, depending on your viewpoint and what they happen to be munching on) to see deer close up. The following are pictures I took of deer in our neighborhood, mostly from our home. As you’ll see, the deer are alert and aware, but not especially bothered by people. That includes me when I was taking the pictures.
All of the deer pictured are part of our local herd that resides in town and in the surrounding area.
I think that this is a much better picture of the buck from the previous two images. He is laying in the shade of a pine tree, just enjoying the day. Out of range of this picture is the doe, along with another buck, two more does, and the turkeys.
These are just some of the deer around here. There are about 30 in the herd, though it varies a little from year to year. Most of the does around here have twins each year and though a large number of them don't live long enough to become adults, enough survive to make up for the losses to the does and bucks in the herd, so the number remains fairly constant.
Welcome to rural life in Montana!
This yearling mule deer is on its way to bedding grounds and is about to walk out in the street. It might look as if she's looking at traffic before crossing, but she really isn't. The picture was taken facing across from our house and the deer just jumped the fence from the neighbor's yard. She is actually looking back at two more deer that were farther down the street.
This is not the same yearling as in the previous picture, though the location is almost the same; across the street from our house. This deer just crossed the street from the west side of our house. She is very unconcerned with me and isn't even looking at me when I took the picture. This picture was taken about a month after the previous one.
Incidentally, despite the caption in the picture, this is a mule deer, not a white tail.
This doe and her yearling fawn are on the west side of the house in the vacant lot. This picture was taken in early December 2016. Notice the snow on top of the doe's nose. She has been rooting in the snow to get to dried forbs (weeds). Again, there is a total lack of concern about people. Both deer are completely aware of me as well as the neighbors who were out shoveling snow when this was taken.
This pretty little buck and doe, flanked by wild turkeys, are in the yard of a friend. The lady fed the deer and turkeys twice a day, which is why the buck is looking back at me as if to say, "More? Feed me!"
This picture was taken during deer season and the lady's house is a safe haven. It is posted and no hunting is allowed. The picture was taken from her front deck and I was about eight feet from the buck. I had to zoom out to get as many of the turkeys in this shot as I could. To give an idea of sizes, though, the turkey directly behind the doe weighs on the order of 25 pounds.
The picture was taken on the west side of our house, from the bathroom window. The metal pole between the doe and the camera marks the edge of our yard and the deer is in the vacant lot between our place and the neighbor's house in the background. She is also using the swath I just finished mowing. I'd just taken a bathroom break. Clearly, she is unconcerned by the smell of the mower, the handle of which is directly behind her. She is really more interested in what goodies were mowed down that she can easily get to.
This is the same doe and fawn as in the previous image. They are walking down the fence line to the road and shortly after this was taken, they were walking down the middle of the road toward the west. Incidentally, this and the previous picture were taken in the early afternoon. Both of these deer are heading back from the river and going to feeding grounds northwest of where this was taken.
Taken in the early spring of 2017, this deer is standing at the edge of our yard on the west side of the house. She is intently curious about the neighbor's dogs. This is a young doe, no more than two-years-old and she is on her way to the river for a drink.
Notice how lightly she is standing on her front feet and how her rear feet are forward to support more of her weight. From this position, she can easily pivot and jump in any direction, should the neighbor's dogs manage to come at her. (They didn't.)
This view is from our front porch, looking south. The deer are behind the house, almost directly between the side garden and the back garden. (Garden sage can barely be seen in the lower right of this picture.) I don't mind them getting in the garden when there is snow on the ground and purposely leave some garden plants in both gardens late in the year specifically for the deer.
This image was taken in early January 2017, between snowstorms. As with the previous two photos, this is a doe and a yearling fawn, but these are different deer than in the other images. This doe actually has two yearling fawns. The other is lagging behind, out of camera view.