Mule Deer Buck In A Stream

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Tech Info:

  • Camera: Nikon D3x
  • Lens: Nikon 300mm F 2.8
  • Focal Length: 300mm
  • ISO: 800

Geographical Location:

Park Name:

Subjects of This Photo:


Other Photo Tags:

This Photo's ID: 480

Awards / Publications:

  • 2nd Place "Wyoming" Photo Challange, at Dpreview.
  • 3rd Place Open Fauna, 2011 National Center For Nature Photography Annual Photo Contest (against 556 total entries). It came in behind my first place shot, Black Bear Cub.
Field Notes Print Info

Oh, man, this is a great story!

So, we were driving though Yellowstone from Mammoth to Cook City like we’ve done a hundred times before and we spot a pair of stunning mule deer bucks near a stream. Can’t resist that! We park the truck and grab our gear – of course THAT attracts attention from another car that pulls in just as we’re crossing the road.

The guys get out and have that “I have great gear so I’m a pro” air about them…

Great… <sarcasm>

So, we end up doing a bit of leapfrog. Between downed trees and a nearly vertical bank at our backs, there’s just not a lot of room. At one point they decided the leapfrog game wasn’t fun anymore and simply kept moving along – pushing the deer as they went. I hate pushing an animal, so my tendency was to stay back – of course there’s never a shot back there. The harder they push, the less I like my chances.

Then it clicked – I just need to get around and ahead of the deer – but how? Soon enough, I spotted a little path that took me away from the creek a bit and provided dense cover between the deer and I – perfect.

Since these “master photographers” were pushing the deer too hard (never chase an animal – always let it come to you), I knew it wouldn’t be long before they took one step too close and the two deer head upstream.

So, once I got around, I found a small hole in the brush that opened to what I think must have been the prettiest spot on the creek. I quickly setup, cross my fingers, and wait.

Soon enough, the other photographers begin to close in on the deer and force them to splash up the creek towards me. The geniuses chasing the deer saw what was about to happen but just couldn’t get there. I was setup in the ONLY unobstructed spot and got the shot you see here.

Since the deer were starting to get stressed (I don’t blame ’em), I knew it was over and we started heading back, letting the other group finish them off.

As we made our way back to the truck, we noticed their car – doors left wide open and all the rest of their gear just sitting there. Guess they never saw a deer before…

As we shook our heads and got back into the truck, the two deer bolted across the road and up a hill…

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2 Responses to Mule Deer Buck In A Stream

  1. Reb says:

    Hi Steve-

    I have had a similar experience with some Jackasses, er hunters, one riding up to me in the woods on a motorcycle. The group of deer I was watching for several minutes very close to my pickup all ran off before I even heard the cycle. He asked me where all the deer were, as he had not seen any.


  2. Howard Ragan says:

    Well done. Nothing like a real live wild deer to get heart pumping…

    Good that you had reliable camera… too bad a bear could not have cleaned out those idiot’s car…

    Howard. Over here in Beaverton Oregon….

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