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Mule Deer Family Portrait

Mule Deer Family Portrait
Mule Deer Family Portrait

Mule Deer Family Portrait

Overall it’s a fairly excellent photo from a game trail camera (GTC). Each and every one that I finish takes a lot of attention to detail to fix the issues inherent with GTC images. Finishing them this well takes a LOT of luck. This is Jane Doe and Twins in the early summer.

I’ve been watching them all year and they are currently starting to loose their spots. Probably should name them as they are going to be future stars of my photography. You can’t see it here but one of them has a chunk out of it’s ear which makes it easily identifiable. The other one will present a problem to differentiate from another random doe. No Notches on her. Jane’s left ear is slit nicely which makes her easy to discern in the crowd. I ran across these guys the night before I typed this narrative.

Of late I’ve been collecting most of the “Chips” (SD cards) from my network of Game Trail Cameras (29 currently I think)…I only see some of them once a year or so depending on where I planted it. Collecting them spread out over s 6 square mile area is a chore. So I can’t visit every location in one day. Usually I do this over a week in the later summer. Then I look at THOUSANDS of random automatic camera images (99 percent crap) over several days. Just occasionally I get a good one. This particular 360 degree sensing camera is planted nearby a path to a stock tank that this particular family unit waters. It literally will detect and take a photo anywhere in the full circle (not a panorama). Normally it takes 3 or 4 cameras to properly cover a likely spot.

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming / Montana borderlands (Wyotana)

Title: Mule Deer Family Portrait

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Mule Deer Doe and Fawn

Mule Deer Doe and Fawn
Mule Deer Doe and Fawn

Mule Deer Doe and Fawn

The wisdom of the Mother deer is evident in it’s quick glance over her shoulder to check on me. We surprised each other. I instantly stopped, the engine stopping in in my truck automatically. Suddenly I’m a parked car with a big eye sticking out of the side window. With me popping over the ridge. The startled fawn quickly running toward it’s mother for advice. Mother who had seen this trick before from me, casually checked me out before continuing to graze. The fawn sensing her “at ease”, hung out for a few seconds unsure. The young ones are starting to think for themselves at 3 months old. That’s the human equivalent of a 4 year old for Deer Mothers.

I considered whether to put this as the second image in my posts today. That is high praise from me for a deer photograph lol. Deer images mostly are relegated to the 3rd or 4th spot…. In otherwords, I love this image….. It might just be me… Or maybe it s the little hole in the Does left ear. (just checking to verify your “Seeing” and not just looking) 📸

Photography is about freezing those moments of space and time to preserve them for future purposes. I’m never sure how my images are utilized. This one will likely be a painting by someone within a few days I’m sure.

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming / Montana borderlands (Wyotana)

Title: Mule Deer Doe and Fawn

Mule Deer Doe and Fawn

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Always One Slow Poke

Always One Slow Poke
Always One Slow Poke

Always One Slow Poke

These two Whitetail Does with fawns still have a yearling hanging with them. Probably the year old daughter of one of them was being a typical youngin’… EVERYBODY was waiting for her to jump that fence line ME included. Took her time…📸

It was a trip to get up high topographically. The trails diverged over a ridge to expose a 5 wire Barbed wire Bull pasture enclosure that the deer were in getting water. There aren’t many 5 wire fences in this country. Mostly 3 wire. When someone puts up 5, it’s for the big animals. His photo is forthcoming lol. I find modern bulls more or less stubborn and not as smart as your average 1 year old. Low and behold it was sharing a pasture with this one year old lol.

Well junior finally decided to risk the jump. By the looks of it it may have brushed that top wire. Having a few minutes between first and last deer to clear. Set up was I was machine gunning the camera at it lept. I have 7 images over this jump. So many good images, so little time to work on all of them. Heck it’s hard enough to look at everything I take let alone an entire timeline of a good sequence like this. I love to see (and photograph) deer clearing things except my own fence lolol. 😜

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming / Montana borderlands (Wyotana)

Title: Always One Slow Poke

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Branch in Fawns Mouth

Branch in Fawns Mouth
Branch in Fawns Mouth

Branch in Fawns Mouth

I had the high ground AND the sun at my back. I was almost invisible to the actors in this play. One was off frame left. Simultaneously to this capture, a Red Fox was walking through the grass maybe 50 feet away from this Deer fawn. I’m thinking the branch it had in it’s mouth was a peace offering. Perhaps it was a little extra camo to stay hidden. The Fawn was WAY more interested in the Fox than the Fox was of him. Having said that, I’ve never seen a deer fawn standing rock still with a branch in it’s jaws for a few minutes. He was carrying it around like a trophy. He never dropped it as long as I watched him.

I had just a very small window through vegetation to capture this. I watched this little guy for maybe a few minutes before his twin popped out for a second. Then both disappeared into the thicket to the right. The fox was no where to be seen by then. I was working back and forth between them photographing each but have no frame with both. I was working a long lens not a wide lens at the time and this happened very quickly.

So a bucket list item has been recorded. A Red Fox Kit nosing a spotted fawn deer in this light. Now that would be a photo eh? 📷

Location; Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming / Montana borderlands (Wyotana)

Title: Branch in Fawns Mouth

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Mother Nipping Fawns Tail

Mother Nipping Fawns Tail
Mother Nipping Fawns Tail

Mother Nipping Fawns Tail

This fawn is about to get nipped. I’ve seen a few deer bite deer scenarios historically. Not too many though. Perhaps that tail looked tasty for a minute. Just a little nip. Perhaps this is a deer form of spanking. Butt Biting certainly would change the expression on it’s face I’m thinking lol. It’s natures way to correct our young one’s inattention.

These guys were grazing out in the backcountry grasslands up high on the ridges. I randomly came by. Blending in and letting the deer get back into natural behavior after your initial intrusion. They definitely have a line in the sand you don’t cross without loosing your photographic privileges. Some close than others. These twins are good with me as are their mother. I watched them for about 1/2 hour. Then continued on up the ridge to find a location to photograph the one going “Golden Hour” and the coming sunset.

I have read that twins are normal in most healthy populations. 10 to 15 percent of the deer in such biomes bear triplets. I have not seen any triplets in a few years. I suppose I only see a small population sample here on a 5 square mile ranch relative to say the 36 square mile township. There are a lot of deer in a 36 square mile township lolol. We only have a few dozen small herd nearby here that I interact some with. Most of them just overlap their range on my place. Only a few herds actually live here. Of course there are itinerant bucks that come by occasionally.

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands (Wyotana)

Title: Mother Nipping Fawns Tail

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Doe Fawn Nuzzle

Doe Fawn Nuzzle
Doe Fawn Nuzzle

Doe Fawn Nuzzle

When you watch a mother deer with her fawn, you can see the love. They interact constantly. Once the novelty of me being within telephoto range has passed, natural behavior starts to return. No more suspicion of the intrusion into their world remains as I watch the mother reach over and nuzzle her baby. I’m not so sure the fawn was stressed in the least. I’m thinking the mother was reassuring herself that the fawn was OK. This was at least 5 minutes after I started photographing them. I’m doubting she was very stressed as the photo session continued for at least another 1/2 hour. I drove off leaving them approximately in the same place as when I drove up. I can usually do this kind of work without chasing them off.

If I scare animals (bad plan). I don’t get to photograph them very long and then only their backsides as they run away. So stealth, patience and don’t push are my techniques.

These guys way laid me on the way to photograph a sunset. I often randomly encounter wild animals on my trips around the ranch. I have been known (rarely) to go up a hill with a FLIR (Forward Looking Infra-Red) high resolution thermal viewer looking for body heat. It is rare I LOOK to find animals to photograph. They almost always just appear during my daily chores and photographic trips. I consider myself a landscape photographer even as all these critter photos grace my portfolio.

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming / Montana borderlands (Wyotana)

Title: Doe Fawn Nuzzle

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Fawns Watching the Sunset

Fawns Watching the Sunset
Fawns Watching the Sunset

Fawns Watching the Sunset

After watching these guys for 20 minutes, these twin fawns decided to walk up to the ridge line. They has a sunset show of a totally clear sky full of golden alpenglow. I know that deer watch beautiful sunsets. I’ve seen them stop eating to watch it for minutes at a time.

I’m always on the way to set up a landscape somewhere at sunset So along the way….. . I am after all a landscape photographer who likes to specialize in close/far perspectives from the viewpoint of a mouse. But…. Being an opportunist and stingy with my time, I pursue animal photography only as it occurs. This is in contrast to trying to make it happen. Now I have at times known where herds were and with definitely intent drove carefully/slowly into the center of the herds. It takes a little previous experience with that herd getting them used to my rig. These two Whitetail Fawns are definitely getting used to me.

I haven’t seen as many Mule Deer up in this country this summer. The Muley’s must have moved on to lusher pastures with WhiteTail Deer moving into the area filling the vacuum. Certainly we hope this is me not noticing where the Mule Deer hang this year. I way prefer to have Mule Deer about rather than just Whitetail.

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming / Montana borderlands (Wyotana)

Title: Fawns Watching the Sunset

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Deer Twins Golden Hour

Deer Twins Golden Hour
Deer Twins Golden Hour

Deer Twins Golden Hour

These Twins I’ve been watching for a while. I surprised both of us popping over a ridge top but they stood their ground. The Raptor instantly stopped it’s motor and was not a threat anymore. They immediately settled down. With a perfect Late Day golden colorcast light in their face, it looked they were enjoying the sunset. That was ongoing behind me at the time but you have to make priorities. It was a clear sky sunset….yawwwwn…..I don’t usually get lovely twin fawns bathed perfectly in the last light of the day. The spots will disappear by fall. I’m not sure of the evolutionary advantage/survival benefit of the spots but it seems to work for them. Usually traits don’t propagate in species if they don’t work / do something.

SO I worked the family unit as Mom is just outside of frame here. These two were following her toward the sunset slowly, in no particular hurry. I drove away leaving them where they started. Being there I was trying to make the Raptor look like a grazing cow. I probably took 600 images of this encounter. There will be 1/2 a dozen finished. Many are similar to the ones before, many are rapid fire next image in the sequence so it’s picking good apples from the barrel in this kind of thing. I don’t have a clue what that sunset was doing lolol.

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming / Montana borderlands

Title: Deer Twins Golden Hour

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Deer Nuclear Family Twins

Deer Nuclear Family Twins
Deer Nuclear Family Twins

Deer Nuclear Family Twins

The Doe is used to me as much as ANY I’ve photographed in quite a while. She passes this lack of fear on to her twin fawns. The one in front has a split hear like it’s mother (same ear too). That fawns ear isn’t quite as notable as it’s mothers notch but I’ll be watching these two. They should be very used to me by winter. I hope not to scare them in any way so that they accept me as just another grazing animal of no threat to them.

Usually mothers with fawns are essentially unapproachable. You get beautiful photo of their rump running away. The southbound side of a north bound deer in other words.

These guys and I have been playing hide and seek for a many weeks now. The fawns and doe survived the 3 inch hail dump for 1/2 an hour a few weeks ago. Most of the pasture is flattened but this particular field still has grass with heads. It’s not reduced to straw in other words. I’m sure these guys didn’t like that hail storm a bit.

This is the first of a dozen or more amazing captures of this family out in the grasslands. This was one of the first and thus furthest away from the clients. I will take photos, then move a little, take photos, move a little over and over until I’m filling camera frames with faces and eyebrows. This was late afternoon golden hour but this is early. The later timeline captures are marvelously color cast by the setting sun. Stay tuned as they mingle into my workflow.

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming / Montana borderlands (Wyotana)

Title: Deer Nuclear Family Twins

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Best Ears Ever Fawn

Best Ears Ever Fawn
Best Ears Ever Fawn

Best Ears Ever Fawn 😀

I often run into wild animal encounters in my truck. It is a black vehicle that these guys have seen a few times now. Usually a white tail mother randomly encountered will run away with it’s fawns. The mother and twin this fawn was with were just down hill from me having passed in front of me on the two track trail. They they stopped and settled down as I did the same thing. Patience and slow movement. Mostly stopping/ shutting off your motor will go a LONG way to calm down the mom. This family unit has seen me a few times thus the patience with my presence. 🌲

This was taken after sunset in very flat twilight illumination so it’s a little odd (at least to me). But Odd can be good and in this case, I suggest a full screen examination of those ears. I have never seen whitetail ears so well defined / patterned inside as this little fellow. I not the most astute observer of deer and maybe they all have this.It was cool anyway. It may be a trick of the low light that I took this under.

You will not the coarse “Sweet Clover” stalks it stands in. They have been decimated several times over by the hails storm that went through here a few weeks ago. I just saw my first sunflower the next morning from when I captured this. There are more to this time line that will be forthcoming. These Whitetail Fawns survived the up to 3 inch hail for 1/2 an hour that did this.

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming / Montana borderlands (Wyotana).

Title: Best Ears Ever Fawn

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Whitetail Fawn Razzing

Whitetail Fawn Razzing
Whitetail Fawn Razzing

Whitetail Fawn Razzing

It’s not too often I get to know a Whitetail Family. These two twins have now been well photographed this spring having spent several sunsets with them of late. I can drive up to good functional lens distance from them and not change their behavior any. After a few minutes, unless I move, they are not watching me. They were grazing. The Raptor I drive, shuts down it’s engine automatically upon braking to a stop. Saves gas I understand. It also makes it very handy to a guy who used to have to use the key to do that. These guys could care less if the truck starts or stops at this point. Initially I think it was a big deal. I left their proximity without spooking the group at all. Saw them later that evening down toward their water / night spot.

But the interactions between the fawns are what is the best thing to watch. Photographing twins is a pleasure at this age. (Them and Me lolol) Both are having fun in this fairly good pasture. Little Hail Damage here. Natural deer behavior doesn’t involve sticking their tongue at each other but I’d like to think it does. These two were definitely messing with each other at the time. Playing at the Dinner table.

Note the notched ear on the right fawn. I can follow it through it’s life now that it is familiar with me. Knowing how to recognize it is the game. Now for a name……

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming / Montana borderlands (Wyotana)

Title: Whitetail Fawn Razzing

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Whitetail Fawn Yawn

Whitetail Fawn Yawn
Whitetail Fawn Yawn

Whitetail Fawn Yawn

So I tend to see animals on the way to and from various chores, ranch duties like checking water tanks or even fences now and then. Being a Landscape Photographer of course, I go out to photograph quality sunrises and sunsets as well. Traveling too and fro on a big ranch puts me into the daily lives of the creatures great and small that inhabit this place. They of course become accustomed to my vehicle eventually. Hopefully this means they tolerate my presence. I’ve found pushing animals might get you one blurry photo of them running away. I stop in my tracks and wait. Slooowwwwwly moving closer in steps. Clicking away each stop. Rinse and repeat.

I was watching this little guy graze for a few minutes. His mom was way off frame so I was being patient waiting for them to re-unite. Photographing nursing fawns is a good activity most days. I don’t think the power(s) that be take time off your lifeline for watching activities like that.

So I’m listening to Sirius XM channel 14 jammin’. Out the Raptors window goes a long lens. 1200 mm brings subjects marvelously close. Carefully focused on the fawn. The camera back set to machine gun mode. Grazing away, the fawn looks up right at me. Opens it mouth and gives the biggest baddest yawn I’ve seen a deer offer me. Flies could fly in that cavern or worse a grasshopper. 😜 The shutter flapped like there was a breeze in that lens.

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming / Montana borderlands (Wyotana)

Title: Whitetail Fawn Yawn

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Grasshopper Escape Hungry Fawn

Grasshopper Escape Hungry Fawn
Grasshopper Escape Hungry Fawn

Grasshopper Escape Hungry Fawn

Quality Game Trail Cameras can capture very candid scenes. Each and every image I’ve ever posted from a game trail camera took me a relatively long time to fix problems with them. They have inherent issues built into every one of the .jpg file (image) they put out. But they are, to a one, capable of capturing situations that no one would ever see without those cameras out in the bush. Such as the wonderful result here lol.

I can imagine 100 hillariouis scenarios for this image but I’m thinking that grasshopper was escaping that lizard tongue. Now I’ve seen a LOT of deer tongues over the years. Done some hunting, a little photography, I’ve never seen one quite that much of a flapper before. This is a month and a half old fawn at this capture.

Running a network of 29 cameras (currently) is a matter of keeping manufacturers of AA batteries financially solvent. Cameras I set in the spring are just now starting to get low on power. Now where did I leave that Browning Camera at?. I run into them as I’m back on the ranch. Occasionally I find one I set the previous year and it’s battery dead. Oh the treasures it could contain. The only control you have over those automatic cameras are usually 3 levels of sensitivity to trigger, and 3 levels of flash (close, medium and far). Placing them in the right spot is the game though.

The hardest thing to match colorwise in any Wyotana photography is Sage Brush. Try it. It’s tough to get right .. 📷

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming / Montana borderlands (Wyotana)

Title: Grasshopper Escape Hungry Fawn

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Fawns Ready for Feeding

Fawns Ready for Feeding
Fawns Ready for Feeding

Fawns Ready for Feeding

Here are the two Whitetail Fawns that belong to the doe I posted earlier today on my timeline. She was the deer on the curve, very pregnant. Here is the result of that baking project.. two buns popped out of the oven. The trickster on the left in anticipation of a drink at the spigot is obvious. They are oblivious to me as I was in my black ford f-150 (portable blind) 100 yards away and I’d been watching them for a few minutes. Mother had seen me earlier so her approach was more circuitous. She circled around behind a row of trees having started out to their far left. She approached them from their right. It took a few minutes.

Of course the rest of the story is feeding fawns in this deep wash more or less (in their minds) perfectly safe in their world. After all, Mom is there to feed and keep them safe. Actually a doe can kick a humans butt pretty well based on what I’ve seen over the years. Besides internet videos showing deer kicking human butt… I’ve seen deer on deer competitions that would rival anything the MMA can offer. Mom is no push over protecting her kids. Pretty much the only predators they fear are humans and lions. There are Eagles that have taken small deer and these are very small deer. Having a third eye on the sky is good advice if your that small.

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming / Montana borderlands.

Title: Fawns Ready for Feeding

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Twin Fawns in Deep Woods

Twin Fawns in Deep Woods
Twin Fawns in Deep Woods

Twin Fawns in Deep Woods

Before their mother found them, they saw her. I was watching them from my black F-150 Raptor, engine off, LONG Canon f4 600mm lens, Sony Alpha 7R4 back (pretty good gear) sitting out of the drivers window. I could see their mother moving toward them in my peripheral vision off to the side. I mount the lens on the window so it’s pretty stable. That particular SuperTelephoto works well to look into places where other long lenses fear to tread. There wasn’t enough light there for a lighter 600 mm with less light gathering ability.

These two were licking their lips in anticipation (I have those photos too lol). Here they both watch as their mother takes her time grazing over to them. To their credit, they didn’t rush over to her but once permission was given, they went to town on getting some milk from the bar.

I’ve never seen a better set of spots on fawns. They will only have them until fall when their winter coat starts coming in. I think they make them stand out more but mother nature (who knows best) decided that they should look that way. Apparently, move fawns survived that had those spots than those that did not. That seems to be how things generally work up here. Better camo means your not seen. What works, works. Other methods fail which is an evolutionary dead end. If you don’t survive to reproduce, any characteristics beneficial or otherwise you may possess fade away from the gene pool from the view of this Paleontologist.

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming / Montana borderlands (Wyotana)

Title: Twin Fawns in Deep Woods

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Pronghorn Siamese Illusion

Pronghorn Siamese Illusion
Pronghorn Siamese Illusion

Pronghorn Siamese Illusion

These Twins like all rambunctious baby animals frolic most of the day. Play interrupted by periods at mothers spigots to fuel such activities. Grass and Sage turned to protein and fat by an animal that has very little fat on it’s body. I’ve never seen a market for Pronghorn Milk. I suppose you would have to be pretty fast…..

I suspect there are tame Pronghorn as rescues in some gov’t program about. They are probably like any other animal raised by humans being tolerant of us. This would not be beneficial to them with the hunting culture out here. I’ve never seen them in petting zoo’s either. Their fur is not the softest ungulate fur out there. It’s kind of coarse if you’ve felt it, you’ll understand.

Mom was just off frame to the right. It’s fairly difficult to get them all in the same frame with any reliability. When mom isn’t feeding them, she’s trying to feed herself to keep up with the calorie demands. The kids do start eating grass but this is a tough year. We are very dry and JUST had a CRUSHING hail storm. Much of the grass is flat as a glass plate to the ground. It will reduce the rist of fire.

Our fire truck was started today and is more or less ready for this season. I have some things to test and make sure is stocked. The prairie is very dry is lots of hour fuel.

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming / Montana borderlands (Wyotana)

Title: Pronghorn Siamese Illusion

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Pronghorn Mother With Twins

Pronghorn Mother With Twins
Pronghorn Mother With Twins

Pronghorn Mother With Twins

Boy this was tough lighting. When the late “Golden Hour” afternoon long traveled photons arrive, there is a tendency for them to be skewed significantly toward the reddish side of the spectrum. The fur colors of Pronghorn I’ve looked at very carefully over the years considering what different colorcast light does to it. This image runs the gamut literally.

Pronghorn fawns seem to be darker than their mother in every situation I’ve ever seen. This is about as red/tan as they EVER are. Even under this red light. Granted I’m just looking at my local population so it’s not a controlled observation. Pronghorn are generally very lightly colored tan. Darker animals are usually made that way by the photo editor boosting the color of the rest of the image. This brings along the coat to the color of a deer. I’ve seen some lighting turn them darker. Shade versus sunlight is another factor. In this image, it was the color of the sunlight that made it hard for me (the photo finisher) to get the animals to look the right color. If I let the raw image through un-edited they would have been VERY red.

All these Pronghorn are females. Males have dark cheek patches. There is still a lot of grass out on the prairie but there are a LOT of grasshoppers happily consuming already dry, headed out stunted grass.

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming / Montana borderlands (Wyotana)

Title: Pronghorn Mother With Twins

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WhiteTail Doe Nursing Twins

WhiteTail Doe Nursing Twins
WhiteTail Doe Nursing Twins

WhiteTail Doe Nursing Twins

I have never found WhiteTail Deer easy to photograph. They are WAY more skitterish than Mule Deer. Jumpy at any approach would be my description of their behavior toward photographers. I got lucky coming up on them as all my photos are random encounters.

You sort of have to look but there are indeed twins going at the belly bar. 4 spigots no waiting. They were down in a deep grassy wash/gully as I was wandering by. Being in a stealthy Black Ford Truck, being slow, acting as a grazing animal might, can get you into I really had to look / move a bit to find a window through the vegetation to see all of them. I’m thinking she felt pretty safe hidden down there. The kids were all over her and hungry. Tolerant she was. 😀

Being in my Black Ford F-150 Raptor put her at ease enough for me to get this image. Stopped for the photograph, I had come up on them slowly. THe engine automatically shuts off if you set it up correctly. . I think I had Sirius XM ch 14 on in the background.

Usually such captures are reserved for my game trail cameras. This however was grabbed by me live working a Sony Alpha 7R4. A good 600mm f4 canon lens and here you go. I had enough time to set up a few compositions but I had a lot of brush in the foreground to work around. Tough conditions sometimes. Wish it was raining….

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming / Montana borderlands (Wyotana)

Title: WhiteTail Doe Nursing Twins

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Pronghorn Paradise on the Prairie

Pronghorn Paradise on the Prairie
Pronghorn Paradise on the Prairie

Pronghorn Paradise on the Prairie

These two week old fawns are following their mother across a pretty good run along side of my Pickup truck. There of course was no threat from me. Pronghorn tend to run along with vehicles just to remind themselves they are the fastest land animal in North America. Typically they will do their best to speed up and run across the road in front of your vehicle. Since the local backcountry speed limit is 45 mph, typically, they can and do pass you. I’m not sure if there is an evolutionary advantage to telling your pursuers that you are faster…. Maybe next time they won’t try??? 🤔 😜 In two decades of riding these backcountry gravel roads, I’ve only hit one Pronghorn with a vehicle. We custom build bumpers just for such things on our vehicles so no damage to the truck but the Pronghorn didn’t do as well. 😔

Mom had twins because last year was a banner year for grass. Her body reacted and doubled down on the survivability this summer. So far, it is early July and the Grass is totally brown. The grasshoppers are already competing for the meager grass crop cut short by both a dry year cutting mandibles. The grasshoppers are as thick as I remember them since I’ve lived here but I assure you that they could and probably will get worse. India, Saudi Arabia and Africa are having REAL Plague of Locust Biblical stuff at the moment. Let’s not go there please ☹️ It’s going to be hard on that mother. ….

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands (Wyotana)

Title: Pronghorn Paradise on the Prairie

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Twins and Their Mom

Twins and Their Mom
Twins and Their Mom

Twins and Their Mom

Last year was a good environment to set up for multiple births of Pronghorn fawns this spring. Ultimately it may have been a cruel trick as while there is still grass growing, it is very dry. Worse, grasshoppers are thicker than recent memory. Malathion is a well used fumigant but it kills the good bugs too so it is a double edged sword. Some ranchers sprayed by plane over their ground. They have grasshoppers too as far as I can tell. The point is, later in the year, the Pronghorn are going to be competing with the jumpers for food I’m afraid. We are even taking precautions around our greenhouses to properly seal them from the invasion.

Each Pronghorn mother during estrus releases 6 eggs (I have been told). All of which fertilize, the mother sloughs off an appropriate number based on the environmental conditions. Twins and even triplets on the good year like last year. IT was green until august. This year, it’s only early July and it’s brown already. I know of one set of triplets and have seen several twins with various moms. These guys were typical fawns galavanting around like they own the place. Mother was typically ignoring them but keeping her eye on the surrounding threat matrix. Getting terribly close to Pronghorn babies is not going to happen regularly. I only have a few Does that tolerate my trucks presence. Others not so much lolol.

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands (Wyotana)

Title: Twins and Their Mom

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Pronghorn Doe with Triplets

Pronghorn Doe with Triplets
Pronghorn Doe with Triplets

Pronghorn Doe with Triplets

These are real triplets not a Pronghorn Nursery. Nursery duty is common among Pronghorns. A little over a month ago I noticed a VERY VERY pregnant Pronghorn Doe that was hanging close to water and food. I drove through that area a lot and got to recognize her and her me. Getting use to me in my Black Ford F-150 Raptor which to her must appear like a noisy grazing Black Angus cow. I drive toward them like a cow would graze. It takes a while but as you can see, not spooking the mother and getting the three stooges in the photo too was a lot of fun. Pretty hard to do as any of the three was off getting into mischief at any one time.

Like any baby animals, Pronghorn Fawns jump and react in unexpected ways to the little things they run into. These three were interacting with each other to a large degree over the time I spent with them. Circling a Mother Pronghorn and her babies is something I personally have never done until this encounter. I was amazed they didn’t spook off. I believe the Doe knew I was no threat. The kids apparently picked up on the attitude. Mother was certainly aware of them but tried really hard to focus on eating. I suspect she will have to gorge herself to keep up with the calorie demand from those three.

I drove off with them not even moving from the area they were grazing in when I arrived. The fawns even laid down in the grass together when I was there watching them one by one. They all laid down within a circle of just a few feet. I have a photo elsewhere of their ears in the grass lolol.

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming / Montana borderlands

Title: Pronghorn Doe with Triplets

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Three Pronghorn Fawns Conspiring

Three Pronghorn Fawns Conspiring
Three Pronghorn Fawns Conspiring

Three Pronghorn Fawns Conspiring

These Tres Amigos are obviously conspiring to pull a prank on their mom just out of frame. They jump around bouncing and playing as you might expect to see from Mini Loki’s. These are legitimate triplets as I know the mother. She was enormous compared to the other pregnant Pronghorn Does in the area. I have watched them for hours now. Mom is relatively skinny having given birth to these three. Plop, Plop, Plop with no Fizz, Fizz I’m thinking.

“They are tight as three knots on a rope they are” 👀 . Yes they play most of the time when mom’s well used spigot(s) or sleep isn’t on the menu. I hope for the mothers sake that the grasshoppers this year aren’t going to be competing for this dry years vegetation. The grass crop is going to be hurt by this insect attack I’m afraid in this area anyway. More good timing. Waiting for the asteroid impact in 4 ,3 ,2 ,1 …..

I was lucky enough to completely circle this group with a box o’ cameras. If I am very careful and drive like a cow grazes, getting close is just a matter of time. I have to drive slowly through high grass these days as there are indeed fawns both Deer and Pronghorn potentially laying there unseen. (I only drive off trail on ground that I own).

One of my advantages taking photos is I’m very agile getting around to get the light and my subject properly oriented to each other. Owning the land, not having nearby boundaries to prevent me from moving into position. I could never approach these weeks old Fawns on foot. The Pronghorn mother wouldn’t allow it so zip gone…. My truck is my portable blind. In the Black F-150 Raptor, I must seem like a noisy grazing Black Angus to them. I need a horn that makes a moo sound on it. Think that might void the warrantee?? 😜 📷

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands (Wyotana)

Title: Three Pronghorn Fawns Conspiring

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Pretty Pregnant Pronghorn Popped

Pretty Pregnant Pronghorn Popped
Pretty Pregnant Pronghorn Popped

Pretty Pregnant Pronghorn Popped

I can’t tell you how many have inquired how the “REALLY” fat pregnant Pronghorn Doe is doing. Well here she is with her brood. I understand that female Pronghorn release 6 eggs which all fertilize. She sheds the ones her body determines she can’t take care of based on the environment. Last year was a very green year. This year is a grasshopper year. Cutting grass early this year is the game before the grasshoppers eat it all up.

At any rate, I’m able to approach this female closely as you know if you are following me. That feeling transmitted quickly to the young ones. At first they were a little wary of this big black Ford F-150 raptor around them. Before long I had circled around them to get them fully in the sun. What was really hard was catching them all 4 together. Watching the group for about 1/2 hour, I only caught this one image of them all bunched up. Typically the fawns were being kids exploring and jumping around like all juvenile animals on the plains.

I have MANY image from this timeline. It’s not often I’m tolerated so well by a Pronghorn group. I hope this relationship continues all summer unaltered. We are about to cut the hay in this field so they will move. I’ll have to figure out where they moved to though. That may take a while as this is a big place. I know where they water though which is a good place to start. 🤔 👀 📷

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming / Montana borderlands (Wyotana)

Title: Pretty Pregnant Pronghorn Popped

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Pronghorn Fawns 3 Bedded

Pronghorn Fawns 3 Bedded
Pronghorn Fawns 3 Bedded

Pronghorn Fawns 3 Bedded

OK, let’s see how observant you are. Can you see them? Here are three fawns (Triplets) well hidden in about 100 acres of grass and Sweet Clover. The Sweet Clover is getting tall these days. Pronghorn babies effective disappear from view if they lay down. I was literally circling the VERY pregnant Mother and her three foals in my Black Ford Raptor. I stay well back, have been seen maybe 100 times by the mother, and she wasn’t worried. The fawns seeing me for the first time, were skiddish at first. The lack of concern of the mother to my presence soon calmed the three and they were playing to their hearts content. Generally they stayed close to each other but would wander from their mother a bit. Getting the three of them photographed with their mother proved to be challenging.

So have you found all three yet? The ONLY reason I could find these guys is I was following them in the lens and they literally disappeared one by one. No where to be seen. Only with very careful searching with a 1200 mm lens finally found them. Indeed located in the general area they vanished in. I was very luck to find them. I had no interest in getting close to them as I have found that if I push animals, they don’t let me get close next time. Finally I drove away from this group. They remained bedded upon my leaving. Their mother grazing near by. They never panic’d during my visit as Pronghorn are prone to do. It’s all a matter of familiarity and trust earned. Wild Pronghorn are not the most patient of beasts in my experience lolol.

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming / Montana borderlands Wyotana

Title: Pronghorn Fawns 3 Bedded

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Might Be Pregnant Think?

Might Be Pregnant Think?
Might Be Pregnant Think?

Might Be Pregnant Think?

It is fairly unusual for a Pronghorn of any sex to walk toward the camera directly. This one is a doe. I can count on one hand the number of images I have even similar to this posture. Mostly visiting photographers see their butts heading out. Oddly, she was literally walking directly toward me for some distance. Must be near sighted… Or that Black pickup looked like an angus lol.

I would indicate though that if there isn’t triplets in there, I’d say she is going to have quads. Technically this might be the biggest “Fastest” land animal in North America. She might have been a little not fast enough last fall. I will tell you with certainty that she is not as quick as she was last year before that Buck got involved. I’m really not sure if she is aware of the fact that that “coat makes her butt look big”. I’m not going to tell her. A professional has to maintain appropriate relationships with photographic subjects after all.😇📷

I see so many Pronghorn each year I can’t keep track of individual does but this one seems familiar with me anyway. She looks pretty scraggly but that is only because she is shedding in clumps of fur. She’s perfectly healthy. Most Pronghorn in cattle country have big chunks of hair off their back as going under barbed wire fences at 30 mph has it’s draw “backs”. I’ve seen those scars get infected before but it’s not that common such that it kills them from it. It’s only known in the Presidential “Book of Secrets” why they prefer to go under fencing rather than over like every other ungulate in North America. 😜👀

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands (Wyotana)

Title: Might Be Pregnant Think?

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Deer Mother Daughter and Sun

Deer Mother Daughter and Sun
Deer Mother Daughter and Sun

Deer Mother Daughter and Sun

The mother deer/fawn were aware of my presence and I of theirs. She took the initiative upon my presentation of a long lens out of my vehicles window. Getting deer to cooperate with me in the backcountry where I come into their domain is difficult at times. Finding myself down slope with a deer family ridge lined between me and the sun is less than a common event. Though I must admit that my travels tend to promote such encounters. I’m thinking they weren’t quite as thrilled as I was lol.

The fawn here with mother leading caught in a during a later golden hour. Earlier they were up higher on the ridge watching the sun go down with me. I was able to maneuver way below them set up about 200 yards out and Click JUST as they started moving lolol. ….

She is pregnant of course with this years new fawn. The yearling trailing will be cut loose as soon as the birth occurs. Then it will be on it’s own…There is a whole little deer melodrama playing out pretty much all year but you really have to watch and pay attention to see it happening. These yearling start small and work their way up the ladder to eventually run a small herd of gals.

Disclaimer: To say this was a very bright scene would be an understatement. The human eye couldn’t have looked at this for more than a fraction of a second. Certainly don’t try this with your DSLR camera. I use mirrorless full frame cameras that won’t blind you as your watching video with no straight to your eye light path. Some mirrorless cameras could get a spot melted on their chips if they aren’t rated for this so know your gear. I use Sony alpha 7 of various models with no problem. Just never even point a mirrorless camera into the sun without maximum f-stop for the lens selected as a starter. Don’t fry your eyes or your gear pointing a camera into the sun please.

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands (Wyotana)

Title: Deer Mother Daughter and Sun

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40 mile Pronghorn Perspective

40 mile Pronghorn Perspective
40 mile Pronghorn Perspective

40 mile Pronghorn Perspective

Talk about a long landscape.. This is a VERY long shot… The Pronghorn here (all Males) are traveling but were nice enough to frame themselves at this remote ranch gate. The first ridge out in the “Prairie Dog Hills” is 10 miles distant from my camera. The “Red Hills” off in the distance are 40 miles away from the lens.

It’s obvious that Spring has Sprung. The grass is turning green. It is rocket fuel for the animals that have been eating brown grass all winter. Green season is one of birth and new growth up in a harsh country of long winters and frozen climate. These males survived the long winter this year.

Photographic Musings:

Under this lighting condition, I was lucky to get as much detail as I did. The effect of extreme distance is with a REALLY long telephoto, is that even objects a mile away are in a different focal plain that the distant mountains. I had to resort to a low F-stop number to open up the aperture in the lens to let way more light in. The dark conditions just before the sunrise were such that deep focus was not an option while still capturing moving animals with no blur. I had to cave into the light and use the evil low f-stop number for a long shot. I really don’t like to do that. Rule #2 of Photography is to : “Get the Photo”.

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands (Wyotana)

Title: 40 mile Pronghorn Perspective

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Rainbow over Parks Road

Rainbow over Parks Road
Rainbow over Parks Road

Rainbow over Parks Road

The intersection of Parks Rd and Trail Creek about 4 miles south of the Montana / Wyoming border is in the distance. I’m about a mile from that crossroads for this shot. The Pronghorn as a matter of principle decided to cross in front of me. They do this to show off. I was pursuing the rainbow the road was leading to. Of course rainbows are tough to catch up to since they move as you move lolol. BUT I find that there are rainbows images and then there are rainbow IMAGES.

Gravel Wyotana backcountry roads are always exciting in what you will come across. I had stopped to to capture the rainbow lining up with the road of course. I saw this Pronghorn, anticipated her path and waited patiently as she took her sweet time wandering across. There is a HUGE network of gravel backcountry roads in this country. The closest asphalt road to that intersection is about 9 miles to the right (looking south east here). The setting sun was REALLY low on the horizon for this capture as I initially working the sunset of course. I randomly run into animal encounters regularly in this country. More pronghorn per square mile than people here.

There is no hurrying mother nature or for that fact, mother Pronghorn (pregnant this time of year of course). Besides the fat belly, you can tell Pronghorn sex by looking for a black cheek patch which this gal doesn’t have. The males have a big black splotch under their ears / behind their eyes.

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands (Wyotana)

Title: Rainbow over Parks Road

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Pronghorn Moving in Twilight

Pronghorn Moving in Twilight
Pronghorn Moving in Twilight

Pronghorn Moving in Twilight

This is 10 minutes before sunrise this early spring morning when i ran across this fellow. He was actually heading my way as I was setting up to shoot the sunrise soon to occur over my shoulder. I’m in my vehicle and pretty much in a “blind” as far as the local critters are concerned. They usually don’t mind if the vehicle moves either as long as it isn’t a fast movement or more than 20 or 30 yards moving slowly. Approach is very important lolol. Pronghorn are way more tolerant before Civil Twilight that after.

This country is big. I drove about 2 miles out into the backcountry to have this guy cooperate while I composed the capture. It’s always good when animals sit for me… The Orange Alpenglow was just a foretelling of the sunrise minutes away. This capture was dead center of civil twilight that morning. The Orange is the surviving Light that has traveled hundreds of miles through atmosphere. Th ere is was reflected from atmospheric ice acting like a projector screen.

There is no snow here at the moment as this posts. . ….for late April. We have had BIG snows in early May…… It has been a very long winter as it started October 1 this year. It’s been not terribly severe but it’s been cold enough long enough for me lol. Life up in the high Wyotana borderlands can be harsh at times lolol. Never a lack of things to take photos of though 📸

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands

Title: Pronghorn Moving in Twilight

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Chewy Pronghorn Chow

Chewy Pronghorn Chow
Chewy Pronghorn Chow

Chewy Pronghorn Chow

The beautiful little girl was in perfect morning light with a nice morsel to munch on. . She was sniffing the air and had a gleam in her eye.

This is a Pronghorn. It is not an “Antelope” no matter if the “Deer and Antelope Play” song rolls through your head lolol. It is not a “Speed Goat” either and is not related to a goat. It’s not related to an Antelope, the natural location for the closest of which is in Africa. It’s Latin Name “Antilocapra americana” literally means “American goat”. It is not either a goat or an Antelope as I said.

These guys are the sole surviving members of the Antilocapridae family in North America. They have literally been in North America for at least a million years as a species. More of a relative of the Giraffe than any other animal… The best way to tell a male is to look for a black cheek patch. This is a female sans the patch.

They are active both night and day, have excellent eye sight and can see you up to 4 miles away. Your not sneaking up on these guys/gals very easily. It takes about 20 foot strides when running which helps it keeps it’s title as the “Fastest land animal in North America”. They are strictly a western United States creature of the Rocky Mountains and the grasslands of their foothills.

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands (Wyotana)

Title: Chewy Pronghorn Chow