Early in the day yesterday I encountered a herd of five whitetail deer. They were about 50 metres away. In the quiet of the open woodland four of them raised their enormous white tails and ran away. Because they were moving west the tails were illuminated by the morning sun like a collection of white flags. The only sound was the crunch of their hooves in the dry leaves. It was a perfect moment.
The fifth deer bizarrely stood its ground and stared at me for the longest time, eventually walking towards me before changing her mind and running to join the herd. Her time in the gene pool may be limited.
As I approached the summit of Big Bald I suddenly came upon a doe and its yearling fawn. They were only 10 metres away, but did not flee for a long moment. The Virginia Whitetail is a beautiful deer, with a white belly and that magnificent tail when it is raised as a warning.
Seeing seven deer in one day is notable because large animals are rarely seen on the trail. I assume this is the result of habitat loss and several hundred years of hunting pressure. I have only seen one other deer in the past month. In addition to the three bears I also had a good look at a couple of wild turkeys a few days ago. As the forest floor is often covered with acorns and hickory nuts, the woods are alive with squirrels and chipmunks.