Powell County Wildlife: Whitetailed Deer, Odocoileus Virginianus

The white tailed doe sprang from behind a sizeable juniper tree, white flag flying.  Odocoileus virginianus is a thriving species in Powell County, Montana.  I’d startled a similar doe while walking along the old creek-bottom railroad grade a year or two ago, so I knew they enjoyed my acreage near the town of Ovando.  Plenty of cover, plenty of water, plenty of varied and nutritious grasses.  That deer had swiftly bounded into deep cover; there’d been no chance to get a photo.

This time the odds looked better.  For one thing, we were up on the sagebrush bench where someday I’ll get a house built (after the land is paid off).  A lot farther to thick brush or deep forest.  Equally important, I was in my truck–not on foot–and deer often see less threat in a vehicle than they do in a walking human.  Come hunting season (where hunting is allowed), walking humans often carry boom sticks.  I stopped the truck immediately and stood up, feet on the floorboard but head, shoulders, and camera above the cab roof, periscope style.  She had quickly slowed, was still moving but at a walk, and I thought she might present herself for a portrait as she crossed the access trail I was following.

Which she did.  She even stopped dead still, long enough for me to get a couple of great broadside snaps.

White tailed doe on my acreage in northern Powell County, Montana. No hunting!

Note:  I have no idea why this photo is “small and to the left side of the page.”  Unless I simply cropped this one too much.  Let’s try another pic, one in which the white tailed doe (pretty calm, right?) is looking back over her shoulder and has her mouth open.  I didn’t hear her call but suspect she had a fawn hidden in the sagebrush somewhere and was telling the baby to stay put until she returned.  Which the little one would do.  For itty bitty deer babies, the only real defense they have is hiding, so they do it well.  Mama most likely went back after dark, or at least after I left the area, late in the day.

Educated guess: Mama deer is telling her spotted fawn to stay hidden until she returns. Which the baby will do.

No dice.  Looks like there’s something wrong with this WordPress page.  Weird stuff happens sometimes.  Most likely, trashing this page entirely and starting over would fix the problem, but who wants to do that?  Not me!  It’s even possible I inadvertently clicked a code that told this page to do that.  Who knows?  No more mumbling unless it happens again….

The doe eventually meandered off into the sage once more.  One final photo for the day, at least as far as deer were concerned.

Aha!  On the photo uploading page, I found a widget that allows me to set the size of the photo.  This looks more like what I’m used to!  Although, hmm…let’s see what happens with other photos marked for “big as possible.”

White tailed doe on my acreage in northern Powell County, Montana. No hunting!

Interesting.  Set at “super size,” the editor can zoom in and out a whole lot, although too much zooming in cuts the deer’s ears off. But in the published post, there’s a default limit to the size, at least on my screen.

Educated guess: Mama deer is telling her spotted fawn to stay hidden until she returns. Which the baby will do.

That’s it for the deer photos this time around.  There were, however, other things to see this Monday.  Lots of varied flowers, several of them belonging to weeds considered “not good” by the state of Montana.  Fortunately, most of those are in relatively small patches at Holy Waters Ranch and they seem to be competing with each other, not just with the native grasses.   Net result:  Not much spread from year to year, if any.  In some cases, noticeable reduction.

Big Picture Fest to follow.

Double wow.  All of a sudden, the editing page shows the actual photos, not the coding (which it did for all the years I’ve been writing on this site, until now).  Much easier to find my place and also to keep track of the visual fact.  WSYWIG (what you see is what you get) and all that.  Miracle!

Do these photos depict the true beauty, serenity, and privacy of Holy Waters Ranch?  I’m biased so I can’t be sure.  But I can say I can’t wait to live up here.  Every time I’m on the land, its essence seeps farther into me, and I suppose vice versa.

See that last photo (above)?  Moments after this pic was snapped, along came a bumblebee.  I wanted his picture, which I got, but there was also a bonus.

That’s all for now, except to say that today was really good for my health.  Last Monday, I started out lethargic and pushed my body, including a couple of really ugly lifts that torqued my back. requiring two chiropractic adjustments during the week.  This Monday, I started out feeling great except for a minor (chronic) spinal bugaboo, hauled three loads of juniper slash without even firing up the chainsaw, and ended up feeling even better than I started out.  Common sense finally taking hold?  Maybe.  Or maybe getting the white tailed deer photos just made my day and the rest was gravy.