I've been taking a lot of pictures of deer lately. As I've encountered them more and more, I've learned a few techniques that help me get pretty close to them. I've learned some of these from other sources, and some I figured out from experience. Some of these are a combination of both.
I want to tell you that I am not a hunter, I only take pictures. If you're hunting deer, there is probably another set of rules. This is for deer that are roaming slightly populated areas, and are already a little used to humans. I'm sure many of you have seen these in your area.
This is a simple list. It's not meant to be the ultimate answer to getting closer to a deer. It's meant to get you started as a beginner. I've done all of these things myself, and they work. So here it is. Let me know how you like it.
10 Tips To Get Close To A Deer
1. Be Quiet - This is the first thing you should know. You probably don't need me to tell you this. Deer are already nervous, and the slightest noise might send them galloping away from you. So keep quiet. Don't talk loudly, and try not to step on anything that would make a noise.
2. Walk Slowly - This is the first thing to remember. Take your time. If you move at a slow pace, they won't be as quick to run away. What would you do if something came running towards you? It would obviously startle you. You're not in a hurry anyway, are you?
3. Move With Your Back To Them - This is one of the first extra things I learned. I watched a man do this while taming wild horses. The trick is, if you have your back to them, they think you're walking away. It helps them think you are leaving. Now they'll be less inclined to be afraid and run away.
4. Don't Look Directly At Them - If you look off to one side, they won't think you're interested in them. When you look at them, look out of the corner of your eye. You can still see them. You don't want them to see you watching them. To a deer, it's only predators that watch them. If you appear to be looking somewhere else, they won't think they're about to be your next meal.
5. Walk At An Angle To One Side - This one is a continuation of the last two, but it's equally important. You don't want them to see you moving directly toward them. Again, they think only a predator would do that. If you move at an angle to the right or left, they won't realize when you slowly move closer.
6. Keep Your Arms Down - Another thing I learned from the horse guy. If you keep your arms down, you look a little smaller. If you raise your arms, a deer doesn't see just arms. A deer sees a pair of claws, and a big cat ready to pounce. It's an instinctive thing for a deer to think of raised hands or paws as a danger sign.
7. Periodically Stop And Examine The Ground - This one helps to slow you down, and it helps you look as if you're uninterested in them. When you do this, you appear as if you're slow and stupid. Watch another person that does this naturally. What does it make you think? Slow and stupid means you're not a cunning predator looking for a meal. Try to see if they're getting more panicky and ready to run. Stop and do this whenever they look like they're going to run. You'll get better at judging when to do this, the more you do it.
8. Keep Your Head Down - The things on the list before this can help with this one, but it's important to remember. If your head is looking at the ground, it's not looking at the deer. That puts them at ease, and you can get even closer. Remember, you can look at them out of the corner of your eye, and see them just fine.
9. Try To Look Small - Everything above will help make you look smaller. I have actually gotten down on my knees to get pictures of a deer, and it worked amazingly well. The deer calmed down and started grazing on the grass in front of it. I was only ten feet away.
10. Hide - This last one may not always be compatible with the others. But if they can't see you, they're less likely to run. I used the cover of trees to get close enough to walk right out among the deer in the picture above. Then I applied the other techniques to keep them from running away.
That's it. I've used all of these tips in the last two weeks, and they all worked well for me. I've seen other people do the opposite, with terrible results. These are all mostly common sense, but if you keep them in you head as a list, you're more likely to remember. Try my tips out, and when they work for you, come back and tell me about it.
Examples Of Me Using My 10 Tips