On Friday evening I was situated in a pop-up blind on the corner of a newly-seeded
green field. I was camera-hunting wild whitetails. The deer were expected to arrive
via crossing a road and would “pop up” on top of a high ridge fence line. It if all
worked as planned, it would be a prime opportunity to photograph deer at close range
as they entered the field. But photographing free-ranging whitetailed deer is every
bit as challenging — albeit with its own unique nuances — as bow-hunting. In a future
blog post I will argue that it may almost be every bit as exciting and almost as much
fun. Now, a very good buck in anyone’s book proved that to be true when, as I was
turning around to see if deer were approaching from behind, he showed up on the trail
approaching the field on my frontside. His eyeballs loacked onto my movement.
By the time I turned back around and spotted the buck, he was at full red alert. At
ground-level, he simply had spotted me first. Before I could even get an eye up to
the camera, he whirled around and bounded back across the road.
As he attempted to escape danger — me, the guy with the perfectly harmless camera
– he cut through a spruce grove in which my brother-in-law Ray Smith was perched
with a crossbow (Ray suffered a foundry accident a couple years ago and has a medical
permit for the crossbow).
The sun went down, a friendly chipmunk — who had been successfully photographed
– retreated to his little home in a dead log for the night, and the bloodtrailing
of the camera-shy buck began.
Many photos were eventually shot of the buck, which turned out be an excellent 2 1/2-year-old
with 12 points.
We marveled at the sequence of events and wondered: Did the photographer help the
bow-hunter, or vice versa?
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