Deer Encounters

A fallow fawn - please read regarding ethics. All rights reserved.
A fallow fawn – please read regarding ethics. All rights reserved.

I’ve led this blog post with the image I want to write about. This is in part because many who read blogs don’t actually read the post in its entirety. I encourage you to read on, beyond the image. I mean, there might be a video down below.

A short while back I wrote about a small family of foxes I’d happened upon nearby as part of my daily wanderings. During the slight easing of lockdown here in England, I have been regularly visiting the same location, occasionally saying hi to the relatively few people I see walking about first thing. To reiterate on what I wrote before, I interact with less people up there than I do walking around the housing estate I live on.

On this occasion I had gone up to the location to pick my camera trap up again and see what delights it held, having placed it in an area that was heavily trampled but not accessible to the public. I was hoping for interesting results, having seen foxes and many old badger setts in the area.

Having picked up the trap, I kept walking, hopping over a gate into the field where the fox family lives. Moving forwards around a tree I noticed two ears moving in the grass. Just that week I had managed to disturb a fallow deer who was resting out in the open, so I was wary. I walked away, putting my belongings down so I could get my camera and binoculars out to investigate. Yes. Ears. They were definitely ears.

Here’s why I wanted you to read on – I knew this was a fallow fawn on its own in the grass. If you see a fawn in the grass don’t try to rescue it. It isn’t abandoned/lost/injured and certainly doesn’t need your help or a hug or a selfie. If you touch a deer, your scent will be imprinted on a young animal who has no scent of its own. It has been left there to rest, out of harm of predators, while the mum walks away to forage.

Knowing I’d seen adult deer recently I looked out for adults first, and then proceeded to get near enough to take reasonably clear shots. The whole process only took a few minutes and then I walked down the hill to bother an orchid for a bit, the foxes now being reassuringly quiet. Getting this close to a fawn is unusual in the wild, hence wanting to write something that goes some way to explaining how I got the shot. There’s always an ethical consideration with wildlife photography, so I know many will have questions. The photo you see was taken on a 100-400 lens on a Fuji XT2. At the nearest I believe I was 15ft away, and this was a full frame equivalent of around 350mm.

So what was on the camera trap? Well aside from a few mice and yes, a fox, there were many photos and videos of deer. At one point, 4 different adults were in sight. A youngster was also present. I’ve stitched together a quick video of the camera trap’s shots involving the fawn. Looking at them, and looking at the photo above, I do wonder if it’s the same one. This was two hours before I came along. A young fawn might need a lie down after running around like this!

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