You see the title of this post up there? It should give you a clue as to what this post is all about. I have been waiting for almost a week to tell this story. I hope the posts of the previous days have set it up well. These last several days have all been parts of the same story about this one encounter with this herd of deer.
For those of you who haven't read the others, here they are in order:
I told you yesterday that I already had over fifty photos of this herd of at least ten deer. Even though I already had some excellent shots, I became greedy for more. The deer trotted across a small creek to get away from me, but I still followed them.
I actually got several more great photos after I crossed the creek, but I'll show them another time. What happened after I walked even closer to the deer is what I need to tell you now. It was something I've seen twice before, but I still didn't expect.
As I walked closer, the herd was a little off the trail now. They seemed more and more reluctant to move away from the area. I saw that as an opportunity for more deer photos, so I moved in closer to the herd.
As soon as I did this, the deer that was closest to me suddenly took several steps in my direction! It stopped just on the other side of a fallen tree. It was staring at me with a more intense look on it's face than I had ever seen on a deer.
A millisecond later it confirmed the challenge. This second picture is kind of blurry, especially where you see the leaders head. What was happening there was the leader was lowering it's head in a gesture that meant I was in serious danger.
That gesture of a deer moving it's head up and down means that it is thinking of attacking. It's communicating that it wants it's opponent, which was me in this case, to back off. Bulls do the same thing right before they charge. I already knew from past experience that deer also did this.
I then gathered my thoughts and realized that the deer had not crossed that branch. That was a good sign for me. I still had to be very careful here. If I made any sudden moves, this deer was gonna get me.
I had to stand my ground. I definitely couldn't move forward. That would be the worst thing to do! But if I even began to move away, or especially run, it would be a sign of fear. That would give the deer the confidence to charge. Besides, I wasn't about to back down from a stupid deer. My pride demanded that I stayed right there.
We both stood looking at each other for what seemed like a very long time. I knew the only thing I could do was to stand there and wait until the deer gave up. I had to win this staring match. I had my camera up to my eye the whole time, so it's all documented. Taking the pictures was okay since it wouldn't have been smart to move my arms just then anyway.
Let me be clear that this deer didn't turn away out of fear. It knew that I was no longer a threat, and it had better things to do than stand there. That deer seemed to be showing the others that it was in charge, and it had dealt with the threat.
Just to emphasize that, as the leader got closer to the other members of the herd, it arrogantly flicked it's tail up to signal to the others that it was time to move on. This lifting of the tail is usually done in fear as a signal to run, but not this time. This time it was a conscious command to the others.
Maybe I'll put all of this together some time in the future, but for now I just wanted to get the story out. I said before that I've been holding this last part in for several days now. I kept giving hints in the comments section because it was too much to keep secret. Now it's finally done.
The last thing I want to say is that I was never very frightened. It happened too fast. Maybe I should have been scared, but I wasn't. I was actually very excited by the whole encounter. What better everyday adventure can I show than almost getting into a fight with a wild animal?