Two books on deer

 Two friends of mine have deer who visit their yard on a regular basis. The does happily tolerate my friends’ presence in the yard, as they’re picking up sticks or watering the flowers. If, however, my friends have guests, and a guest goes into the yard — the deer bolt.  I found that interesting, and wondered on what basis the deer judge some humans to be threats and some not.  Do deer have extensive memories, I wondered?   To find out, I ordered the only book I could find that seem to have a chapter on deer intelligence, Whitetail Savvy.

While I was waiting for it to come in, however, I read a book in my local library: Giant Whitetails. That shares stories of the author and his brother bow-hunting particularly sizable bucks,  with a chapter following each tale on lessons learned.  The bow-hunting aspect is an important part of this book, because it involves a lot more work and cunning on the hunter’s part.  This particular author is an obsessive watcher of the fields, studying the contours of the land and the evidence of animals using it to figure out what trails deer use when, so he can find a good spot to lay in wait.   An interest in hunting deer is probably a given in reading this book.

Whitetail Savvy, on the other hand, is a comprehensive  study of deer — principally the whitetails that fill the forests throughout the United States,  but with the occasional mention of western pronghorns and elk. The author is an award winning photographer and extremely seasoned student of deer, who has created quite the book here.  After reviewing the various species of deer and their kin,  Rue delivers information on deer anatomy and behavior,  including the senses and emotions. Although I’m fairly inundated with the culture of deer hunting (most of my kin’s houses are decorated with buck heads, and even I have a big photograph of a deer standing near a foggy stream in my living room), I’ve apparently absorbed next to no actual information about deer.  The photographs certainly merit mention; deer are inherently graceful and beautiful animals, and Rue’s photographs demonstrate that grace in many forms. His work also covers the. red in tooth in claw aspect of nature, however; with shots of cougars devouring deer, or of parasitical worms infesting the noses of deer.  (You’re…welcome to that sudden mental image.) Although the section on deer intelligence was disappointingly slim, consisting mostly of anecdotes (in contrast to the tables of data present in other chapters; this is a serious study),  I was fascinated throughout, and especially by the chapters on behavior. 

About smellincoffee

Citizen, librarian, reader with a boundless wonder for the world and a curiosity about all the beings inside it.
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9 Responses to Two books on deer

  1. mudpuddle says:

    i was squatting down, working on a bicycle when a large mama poked her nose over my shoulder: curious i guess… i'm pretty sure deer don't ride bikes, although they do some surprising things sometimes… they're sort of pets around here; rabbits also…

  2. Stephen says:

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. Stephen says:

    They're a road hazard here, often enough — especially in the fall, it seems. Beautiful creatures, but drivers have to watch out for them.

  4. My mom seems to be a deer-magnet. They've actually hit her car while running. Like, full on rammed into the passenger side. It's happened to her more than once – once even in a rental car. Thank goodness for insurance!

  5. R. T. says:

    Color me ashamed … I once was a hunter who killed a deer … it was something like a rite of passage where I grew up … that was 1965 … I’ve shunned all such murderous activities since then …

  6. Stephen says:

    Why shame? Deer populations are estimated to be the equivalent of their pre-Columbus numbers. No shame in shooting an animal, at least not if you're using the meat..

  7. R. T. says:

    Hunting made me feel too primal …..

  8. Stephen says:

    More primalness is what we need these days…people behave too much like zoo animals in close captivity.

  9. Pingback: (Most Of) What I Read in 2019 | Reading Freely

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