Hold on, just give me a second or two to swat these cobwebs out of the way. It’s been awhile but truth be told I’ve been doing a lot of post processing to get ready for this month’s round of posts. Not to let the suspense down, but this month will (hopefully) be the final push to get through the remaining animals captured during our Yellowstone National Park vacation Linda and I took back in October. The weather is finally starting to cooperate with my running schedule allowing me to hit the pavement for my training runs (YES!). Last Wednesday’s 5 miles and today’s 7 miles (both in the hills) were an excellent start. In honor of that, I figured it would be fitting to start with creatures that must laugh at the running (in)ability of humans – the ungulates. For the city dwellers, that is a fancy word for mammals that have hooves (although that definition has a varied past) – charge up that Volt drive 24 miles outside of town .. charge it up again overnight and then drive another 24 miles further out (repeat until you can see stars).
Let’s start with the only decent shot of an Odocoileus hemionus I was able to get in Yellowstone. On our way back from checking out the wolves at Lamar Valley, this particular mule deer was found grazing among the evergreens. Lucky for him the wolves were preoccupied with a cow elk they had trapped in stream at the confluence.
Mule deer are slightly different from the deer we have around here. They tend to be a little more grey than our white tailed deer but the most distinguishing feature is their ears. They are significantly larger than those on the white tail which tends to make them less appealing than their brothers. I do sympathize with them having to go through their childhood with large ears probably taking abuse from all the other animals in the park (except of course the rabbits). Note, light was starting to fall when this was taken making it an ISO battle – I think it cleaned up okay, but would have liked another shot at it.
On our way back from Yellowstone, we stopped into Custer State Park to check out the wildlife opportunities there. For the longest time we were the only car to be seen providing a good opportunity to shoot Odocoileus virginianus Yes, that would be the White Tail Deer. The first group we stumbled on were pretty cautious of our arrival and preferred to stay in the safety of the forest.
Hopefully you noticed the smaller ear size than the mule deer. Living in the country in Big Buck territory of Illinois, we have the opportunity to see these animals nearly every day. At times they’ll come through 10-12 thick in search of fresh acorns and saplings (unfortunately, that includes a fondness for our landscaping which is why we have no problem with a controlled hunting program).
I have to give Linda credit for the following crop selection. I was debating back and forth and she walked in, looked at it for two seconds and then made an excellent recommendation. Kicking myself for not taking the time to move a couple steps closer to push out the close evergreen branches (blurred items at the bottom) – not sure the doe would have stood for that though having already become agitated at how close the camera was already.
Hit the jump to see the rest of the deer set.