All about Hoofbeats & Footprints



Along with Bambi, I was jumping for joy in the early morn. Visiting Big Meadows on Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park in Virginia, the trip was to discover fawns in all of their spotted glory.

I wasn’t the only one out at dawn trolling the meadow in hopes of discovering a doe and her fawn. Several other nature lovers and photographers were out with great hopes.

Managing to find plenty of bucks roaming the fields and just a couple of does without babies. I was starting to think that I would be out of luck on this outing. But a good nature photographer doesn’t give up so easily. Driving slowly back towards Big Meadow’s campground, my eyes landed on spots in the green forest.


She was a brave little soul, calmly walking through the forest with her mother at a distance keeping an eye on her. Grazing a little here, a little there she would stop and mom would come and give her a big wet kiss.

Her mom is Number 97, with her tagged earrings. About 70 deer have been tagged so that the park can keep track of their movements and for monitoring of possible Chronic Wasting Disease which can be a fatal neurological disease in white-tailed deer.


It was a truly magical time when it was just the doe and her fawn all to myself. Deep in the forest with the mountain tweeties singing above. I could have stayed with them all day, but I didn’t want to overstay my welcome. Although mom wasn’t concerned at all with my presence, all was new to this little fawn. The sound of the shutter clicking on my camera startled her. Eventually she got used to it, but still was keeping a close eye on me.

Traveling out of the forest, I returned to the meadow where more spots caught my eye.


Oh my lucky stars ! It’s double Bambi day. Following mom closely behind, they stopped and gave me a lovely gaze.


Off they went, and then disappeared in the high grasses of the meadow.

It was one of those times that one minute before or after I would have totally missed them. Being at the right place, and the right time is the real magic in wildlife photography.

May you have a magical moment where everything you hope and dream for comes together.

The Deer

by Mary Austin

Under the pines and hemlocks
So thick the needles lie
You scarcely hear
The shy, dun deer
With its young go softly by.
Follow, follow,
By hill and hollow,
The dun buck bells to the doe,
The moon is bright,
And we feed tonight
Where the buckthorn thickets grow.

Under the pines and the hemlocks
The thick, white cloud mists creep,
And drip all down
The needles brown
Where the dun deer lies asleep.
Follow, follow,
By hill and hollow,
The doe to her spotted fawn;
‘Tis dark o’ the moon,
But day comes soon
For I sniff the breath of the dawn.

Under the pines and hemlocks
Flickers through light and shade
The deer to his lair
In the deep fern there,
Or to pasture in open glade.
Follow, follow,
By hill and hollow,
Dun buck, and fawn and doe.
The sun is high
And by day we lie
Where only the deer must know.

37 replies »

  1. We were there last May and truly loved it. We even saw bear a couple of times from the road! It was amazing. Love your photos and poem. Brought chills and tears too. Thanks for sharing them.

  2. Absolutely fantastic shots: I’m envious. πŸ˜‰ We have does and their fawns in our garden (nearly) every day now. Maybe I can improve on the quality of my pictures some. I’ll certaily give it a try.
    Have a great week,

    • Oh my !! You have so many does and fawns in your garden. How lucky are you? (Ok..I’m assuming you watch the ticks right?)

      Why don’t you get a blind and sit in the garden? This way you can get closer to them and more at their eye/ground level? This one looks rather interesting and affordable:

      The one I have is this one: It is rather compact, but designed for a photog. It’s not all that tall either. Can’t wait to see what you’ll do! Keep me posted.

      • We’re indeed lucky with and happy about the deer in our garden, even if, sometimes, they nibble at our trees and shrubs. They come by on a regular basis in the mornings and evenings, and sometimes during the day, too.
        Thanks for the links to the blinds. I don’t think I really need them as the deer and even the fawns come as close as 20 to 30 feet. We put out some corn, and they follow that towards our back porch, even when we’re sitting outside. I’ll definitely sit there with my camera ready more often. I might also try the cedar posts we have cloes to our fire pit and see if they come cloes there.
        I’ll definitely keep you posted.
        Have a great week,
        P.S.: The deer [they greeted us on all three occasions when we checked out the house and the property] were one reason why we bought this house.

  3. Oh this is lovely. πŸ™‚ The colors are so vibrant & happy along with the fawns. Looks like a beautiful day, I’m glad you shared it with us. Great poem too, it seems to frolick along itself.

  4. Every year we have baby deer in our back yard. Mom parks them there in the morning and comes throughout the day to feed them and then pick them up in the evening. Yesterday we had a mama and three teeny-tiny babies in our yard. I didn’t go out to photograph them because I didn’t want to startle them and scare them. I always get a little nervous when they’re hanging out in the yard because of the car traffic in the area. I will worry about them all summer until I know they’re old enough to be a little more cautious. Right now they just seem to bound and jump around. But they’re so darn cute.

    • This is such an amazing story, and I do envy your yard. A bit..I know having deer challenges one in having pretty flowers in the garden.

      But mom certainly trusts you to keep a good eye on her babies while she takes a break. You’re a bambi babysitter!

  5. Mighty fine shots. We picked up a fawn just out of Dark Hollow Falls but I was not in shotgun position so I didn’t get the shot. Ran up on a bear on the way to the Meadows and reduced it to a two dimensional plane. Hope you weren’t followed by the fog like we were. Sunrise shot of Old Rag was all set and ready to go when it disappeared before the light could hit it.

      • We were going to do Hawksbill and I lobbied hard against bad knees and height challenges for Bearfence but was cancelled out by fog. Met another nice bear near the cemetery on Dark Hollow Falls but we weren’t in 200 range. Probably a good thing now that I think about it.

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