Up Close and Impersonal

When I tried flying a drone right up to deer they don’t seem bothered until you get quite close.

“I am not merely a ‘large deer'”

As you can see from the bushes, there was a lot of cross-wind. So the drone had to do some pretty big moves to counteract the wind. At one point you can see that I got a bit low and “poinked” it off the ground.

He looks a bit vexed as he is leaving but this morning he was standing right in the middle of the yard (which is now very fertilized with elk poop!) I don’t think I harassed him, really. At one point you can see that he steps a bit toward the drone. Threat or curiosity? I’m not interested in spooking him.

Later in the afternoon he showed up again and posed down by the pond.


  1. kestrel says

    Amazing photos. I particularly like the last one.

    This time of year he’s probably going to feel fairly neutral towards things like drones; in my experience elk tend to really stand their ground and wait and see, as they are pretty doggone big and there are not that many things they need to worry about. Although like any healthy prey animal he is alert and ready to flee, if this were back in the fall you might have had to get a new drone. They can be pretty pugnacious during the rut.

  2. kestrel says

    @Raucous #3: It’s possible that it was a hard winter, but basically, the rut, which goes through fall and into winter, is really hard on bucks. Instead of eating and fattening themselves up for the winter, they are sparring, trying to prevent other bucks from breeding and trying to impress the does. They expend a tremendous amount of energy doing that and it can leave them weak and exhausted. Also, this guy is not young. It’s even harder on the older bucks. Poor guy. Well, he will have lots of cilantro to get his strength back. And possibly some GMO corn. ;-)

  3. Mano Singham says

    Wow, and we get so excited when an ordinary deer wanders into our suburban back yard!

  4. says

    Wow! I would be so excited to see an elk!

    It was quite a surprise to drive home and see him practically standing on my porch. That would not have happened had my gods been around to woof at him properly.

    This morning he was down one of his antennae; my neighbor up the street who is into that sort of thing is going to try to find it.

  5. says

    Mano Singham@#5:
    Wow, and we get so excited when an ordinary deer wanders into our suburban back yard!

    Deer poop fairly small quantities compared to this guy. I am not sure if I want to revoke his license, or not. Actually, I’m not sure how to excommunicate an elk.

  6. kestrel says

    @Marcus #7: well, to “excommunicate” him you would need at least a .30-30. But look at the bright side: his poop is very healthy for young plants and will not even burn them – you can put fresh elk poop on your young plants and it will help them. That’s because elk are ruminants and the poop is very processed. Some people even sell it, although I grant you, in your case it will be hard to collect it. (Goat and sheep and llama and alpaca poop is the same way, but in the case of llamas and alpacas, they very neatly pile the product into nice little collective mounds that are easy to scoop up.) So yeah, although Mr. Elk might eat your cilantro, he is providing a very valuable by-product that you can use to your benefit.

    The antlers are valuable too. You should charge your neighbor depending on where he finds it… :D

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