Stealth


Deer are born with natural ghillie suits. It’s like evolution in action, or something.

This one is young; I came out of the studio building with an armload of stuff and it gave away its presence by taking a few quick steps, then freezing immobile.

One of the reasons I am not very impressed with hunters is the great big deal they make about how hard it is to stalk and kill their prey. These idiots were enjoying the taste of my back yard. They are looking up at me because I walked out on the back porch and yelled “HEY!” I feel like I could have walked up to one of them and knifed it, if I wanted some venison. Sometimes in the winter, the turkeys dance under my bedroom window. I could definitely ‘hunt’ a turkey by dropping a large rock on one.

I guess deer’s stealth is not tuned for early fall back yards, but rather for late fall foliage.

Comments

  1. says

    My most fave deer photo, we had been up by the town cemetery, letting the dogs run. We were leaving when we noticed a young and gorgeous young male deer, in the field across the road. We stopped, and I got out, walked across the road, and started shooting (camera). He just stared at me, so I kept walking until I was almost on top of him. We left him still hangin’ in the field. Every now and then, you can come across calm deer out by Oahe, but the rest? Oh man, they jump and run, so damn fast you can barely follow them with your eye.

    They’ll occasionally show up in town in winter, if it’s very harsh, but we haven’t had a hard winter in quite a while. Those are beauties you caught!

    As for turkeys, yeah, they show up fairly often. I wouldn’t try to wrestle one, they are damn big birds. Besides, I don’t eat them. I’d rather photograph them. :)

  2. kestrel says

    I like these ghillie suits way better than the human kind.

    I remember going out hiking with our llamas once, and some “hunters” came shouting and roaring up to us in one of those noisy small 4-wheeler combustion engine thingies. They wanted to know if we had seen any deer. We said we had not, but the truth is… there were deer everywhere, we were practically tripping over them, they were simply avoiding the noise and stench of the machine these guys were riding around in. We felt that if they would get up and like, you know, WALK, quietly, they would probably be way more successful at hunting deer.

    That night the elk and the deer walked right in to our camp because they were so astonished by the llamas and wanted to get a closer look. And that next morning, they all spooked and ran away because here came that infernal machine again, right into our camp.

    I suppose we are lucky they didn’t shoot a llama, or one of us.

  3. chigau (違う) says

    hiking with our llamas

    I don’t think I’ve ever heard of such a thing.
    Although, people hike with their dogs. Why not their llamas?

  4. siwuloki says

    A very good friend and her husband are hunters and also spend weekends “glassing” for mammals for science and for fun. One of her favorite stories is about the time her husband was watching a small group of mule deer. A pickup approached the area whereupon the deer simply laid down until the threat passed, then stood and recommenced browsing. Adopt adapt and improve.

  5. derek lactin says

    I’ve been walking through the woods and had a deer come up to me and start licking my hand. (For salt?)

  6. Trickster Goddess says

    I live in a city that has resident deer everywhere: hanging out in my driveway, eating my neighbour’s flowers, sauntering down the street… One time when I was driving through a shopping area, I saw a deer standing on the curb at a crosswalk, so I stopped to let it cross.

    Some consider them a nuisance, but most people enjoy having them around. We also get the occasional cougar in the city, which causes a mini panic and elementary school lockdowns.

  7. John Morales says

    Hunters.

    A hunter is someone who hunts, no?

    Unfortunately, it says absolutely nothing about their hunting competence, absent context.
    In a neolithic culture, its main meaning may have been a tad different.

    I note hunting is a prominent reason adduced by those who object to firearm regulations in the USA. But then…
    New York woman shot dead with pistol by hunter who thought she was a deer

    A 43-year-old woman walking her dogs in a field in western New York was accidentally shot dead by a hunter who thought she was a deer, authorities said.

  8. EigenSprocketUK says

    OK, I give up. Can’t see the deer in the first image at all. (Unless there’s 400,000 of them and they look like leaves.)

  9. John Morales says

    EigenSprocketUK, I can’t either, but then my eyesight is not the best and the image is not that high-res.

    I trust Marcus’ credibility (as do you, apparently). But yeah, a marker would be nice.

    (I *really* hate those “practical jokes” where someone outright lies to you to get a rise — they get me every first time)

  10. Dunc says

    The deer in the first image is just a bit below dead centre… Go a third of the way up the post for the basketball hoop, then track right to the vertical centre of the image.

    Whether deer are difficult to stalk depends on whether they’re habituated to being hunted, or being fed. Certainly here in Scotland, where deer stalking is a pretty big thing, they’re normally not at all easy to get anywhere near… Speaking of which:

    New York woman shot dead with pistol by hunter who thought she was a deer

    What the actual fuck? That would be flat-out illegal here, and not just because you're not allowed handguns… We have pretty strict regulations on what sort of firearms you're allowed to use for deer hunting, and handguns are very definitely not on the list, on the grounds that they're not accurate enough and don't have the stopping power to have a decent chance of a clean kill. Bow hunting is also not allowed, for the same reasons. Then, of course, given that you shouldn't even be thinking about squeezing off a shot unless you're sure of a kill shot, you very definitely shouldn't be shooting at anything if you don't even know what it is…

    US hunting culture just boggles my mind. I mean, I'm not a fan of sport hunting at the best of times, but the attitude to it over there just seems criminally negligent.

  11. says

    Dunc:

    What the actual fuck?

    I read that article a couple of days ago. The ‘hunter’ in question is in trouble for shooting into the sun, which is illegal, but he’ll be smacked a bit on the wrist, and let go, because the woman who was out walking her dogs, and was killed for her trouble, wasn’t wearing fluorescent orange. Here in Ustates, if you aren’t wearing fluorescent orange when ‘hunters’ are running amok, the victim bears the blame for their death.

  12. kestrel says

    @chigau: I don’t know if it’s still a thing but for a while it was… packing with llamas. They make marvelous pack animals. I had trained ours to kush (lay down on the ground) on command. You saddle them, then lead them in between the two panniers filled with stuff, have them kush, and fasten the panniers to the saddle. They stand up and you are ready to roll. It’s very cool because you can string them (tie the lead of one to the saddle of the other) and if you’ve got 4 animals with you, as we did on that particular trip, you can bring over two hundred pounds of crap with you for the price of carrying a lead rope.

    @John Morales and Dunc: yeah, I am really suspicious about that being an “accident”. After sundown? With a PISTOL? And a .22 at that… I know they say in the article that using a pistol is allowed, but for crying out loud – even if it is it should not be. The guy should be in jail right now. And why wasn’t he wearing hunter orange if he was “hunting”? The whole story stinks.

  13. says

    John Morales@#7:
    A 43-year-old woman walking her dogs in a field in western New York was accidentally shot dead by a hunter who thought she was a deer, authorities said.

    It’s one of the other things I hate about hunting. They usually park somewhere then walk into … someone else’s land. Every year I used to encounter camo’d idjits with guns, and have to tell them to leave, then turn my back on them and walk away. I’ve had them get threatening, too, “you could have a hunting accident…” Everyone out here knows everyone else so if you piss off Hunter Bob you may have also pissed off his buddy the State Police trooper or his cousin who works at the DMV. There are also hunters from out of state who show up and have spent big $ to rent a shack and come hunt on … your land. Hunting sucks and there’s a great deal of dishonesty about what they are doing. I don’t know if I want to pop my blood pressure by doing a post on it or not.

    There’s a joke I heard from Fred Eaglesmith, which goes:
    2 hunters are stalking along the edge of a field and suddenly a guy jumps out of the woods, yelling, “don’t shoot, I’m not a deer!”
    One of the hunters thinks for a fraction of a second, raises his rifle, and shoots the guy, who falls down.
    The other hunter says, “Holy shit Bob, didn’t you hear him yelling?! He said he wasn’t a deer!”
    Bob says, “I thought he said he was a deer.”

  14. says

    This will help, if you look at the unaltered version with guidelines you ought to see it.
    Seriously, when she stopped moving, she vanished for me – and I was about 40′ away.

    John Morales@#2:
    (I *really* hate those “practical jokes” where someone outright lies to you to get a rise — they get me every first time)

    Me too! I wouldn’t do that to you, unless I warned you I was messing with you.

  15. says

    Dunc@#11:
    What the actual fuck? That would be flat-out illegal here, and not just because you’re not allowed handguns… We have pretty strict regulations on what sort of firearms you’re allowed to use for deer hunting, and handguns are very definitely not on the list, on the grounds that they’re not accurate enough and don’t have the stopping power to have a decent chance of a clean kill.

    Hand cannons, belike. A typical handgun hunter is using a single-shot pistol in a rifle calibre, usually with a scope. It’s basically a very short rifle. They can be wickedly accurate, too – a 150m shot would not be out of the question. At the distance I was from that deer, it would be an easy shot for a competent shooter, with virtually any handgun. Modern firearms are remarkably good and extremely accurate; don’t believe the hunters’ bullshit about how hard it is.

    Where it gets a bit nasty is that shorter guns are always easier to turn on oneself by accident. It doesn’t take much – stalking along the side of a field, you step in some fresh mud, your foot goes sideways, the gun winds up under you, you pull the trigger… My grandfather’s brother Ade did that, with a shotgun, climbing over a fence during the depression, and died. Grandpa was always traumatized about that, seeing as he was standing a few feet away.

    hen, of course, given that you shouldn’t even be thinking about squeezing off a shot unless you’re sure of a kill shot, you very definitely shouldn’t be shooting at anything if you don’t even know what it is…

    Aaaahahaahahahahahahahaa! No.
    Once when I lived in Maryland I was driving through a public park in my little Honda Del Sol on a beautiful fall day and WHACK something hard hit the windshield and bounced off. I was the only car on the road. It left a small smudge of lead. I got the hell out of there. My guess is it was a muzzle-loader some distance away – they probably never saw me, just luck. If the windshieldbullet deflector on the car wasn’t at a pretty sharp angle, it would have gone through.

    Out here the amish are the worst. They don’t consider the hunting laws as applying to them, and they’ll set up a few shooters in position then drive the deer to them and gun them down. They don’t care – the deer were put there by god for them. And they’ll hunt wherever and whenever they want. The only good thing is that usually they don’t go far from their home areas unless they can get a non-amish friend with a van to haul a load of them (they don’t drive but their friends can, sometimes, see?)

  16. says

    Caine@#12:
    Here in Ustates, if you aren’t wearing fluorescent orange when ‘hunters’ are running amok, the victim bears the blame for their death.

    Even if it’s your own property.

    And, in the tradition of great American Contradictions, Pennsylvania has a “guard your castle” law. Last time I called the state police because of ATVers I asked the cop (who eventually came) “If I stay in my car and roll the window down and shoot an ATVer will you prosecute me? Because this is my land and the law says if I am in my house or vehicle I can ‘defend’ myself.” They hate questions like that. Obviously, I have no intent to kill anyone, but I get really really pissed off sometimes.

    One year during hunting season I woke up and there was a guy in orange mossy break with a deer rifle, stalking right down the side of the yard. Actually, in the picture of the deer on the lawn, above, he would have been right by the metal gate in the upper right. So I put the window down and yelled “HEY!” whereupon he whirled and pointed the rifle right at me. Naturally, I ducked behind the wall. Then I yelled “I am calling the police.”

    Out here if you call the cops during hunting season they usually say they are too busy, and don’t come. No lie, I have called the state police and been told, “we are too busy right now.”

  17. chigau (違う) says

    Marcus
    Get some drones out there.
    With laser pointers and recordings of Ride of the Valkyries.

  18. Dunc says

    Here in Ustates, if you aren’t wearing fluorescent orange when ‘hunters’ are running amok, the victim bears the blame for their death.

    Yeah, we have a very different attitude to liability over here… I’m 99% sure that it’s always the shooters responsibility to ensure that they know what they’re shooting at and that there’s nobody else downrange. I say “99%” because I’ve never actually heard of anybody being prosecuted for such an incident, because I’ve never heard of such an incident full stop, despite spending a lot of time around people involved in shooting, stalking, and related activities. Like I say, to the British mindset, US “hunters” all sound criminally negligent.

  19. ragarth says

    I wonder what the legality would be of putting up ‘beware of bear traps’ signs to deter hunters from entering private land.

  20. chigau (違う) says

    I saw the deer in the top photo right away.
    Because almost all of my wildlife photography looks like that and the subject is always in the centre.

  21. says

    I agree with Dunc, also to the Latvian mindset, US “hunters” all sound criminally negligent. Actually the whole attitude Americans have towards gun ownership sounds crazy for me. People regularly dying as a result of bullet wounds is not normal.

    Such hunting accidents simply do not happen also in Latvia. Shooting at something that seemed like an animal after sunset is something that just does not happen. I just tried googling for “hunting accident” in Latvian and one of the first results was about a hunter who got a heart attack during the hunt. Accidents caused by bullets are extremely rare. The ones which do happen actually sound a lot more like accidents rather than caused by negligence. For example, there was a story about one hunter injuring another one as a result of a ricocheting bullet.

    In Latvia collective hunts are popular, so hunters police themselves. When one hunter gets caught doing something dangerous or illegal, other hunters do not defend him. One moron wildly swinging around a gun endangers every other hunter out there, so hunters enforce safety practices among their peers.

    Every year I used to encounter camo’d idjits with guns, and have to tell them to leave, then turn my back on them and walk away.

    In Latvia people who get caught hunting in the wrong place get punished.

    I’ve had them get threatening, too, “you could have a hunting accident…”

    This simply never happens either. People are generally unwilling to spend years in jail, therefore they don’t threaten to shoot other people. If you accidentally kill somebody, you are still punished for that in Latvia. The only exceptions how you can avoid jail time after killing somebody is if you prove that it was either self defense or it was an accident where you didn’t do anything even remotely negligent. If you mistake a human for a deer and shoot him, that’s considered criminal negligence and you don’t get away with it.

  22. says

    Drone patrol results: one pickup truck on my land, but it’s owned by a farmer up the street who also likes the deer and sits out and scares off other hunters. He waved when the drone went over.

    The funny part is that there were about 15 deer just over the crest line. They ignored the drone. I dunno if it’s worth downloading the pictures but it was amusing.

  23. chigau (違う) says

    kestrel #25
    Agreed. And Neighbor apparently groks our Marcus.
    .
    Marcus #24
    I could stand to look at some still-shots of deer ignoring a drone.

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