Why Can Roe Deer Be Hard to Find in Summer?
You can immediately see the answer this question by looking at the picture above – the vegetation can be so long that even when the deer is standing up (and the one shown here is a fully-grown adult female), the tallest stems of grass can be higher than the deer itself. The same applies to deer residing within the confines of a wood, where the stringing nettles, etc will often completely obscure the deer’s outline – no wonder they can be hard to spot.
From the deer’s perspective, this is a good thing of course, as it gives them some degree of protection against their natural predators, as well as the threats posed to them by the actions of man.
Although, on the face of it, it does make it more difficult to locate the deer, it does present the nature photographer with the opportunity to create a slightly different type of image.
Most photographs of roe tend to show the deer in a fairly open area of land, where there’s virtually no ‘interfering’ stems or twigs etc. creating distractions in the image. The trouble is though, the pictures can end up looking a bit ‘samey’. And photos of roe deer shown in a nice clean, distraction free environment, are not representative of the habitat in which they spend most of their time.
Think about it – when you visit an area where you know there’s a sizable population of roe deer, how many deer do you see just stood there out in the open? Not many, I guess.
Even if you go out looking for them during their prime feeding times of dawn and dusk, for most of the year, the majority of the roe will be unseen because they are hiding away in the dense vegetation.
What Should You Do?
If you want to photograph them in long vegetation, I’ve got a couple of suggestions that have worked for me.
Roe deer are creatures of habit, so it pays to get the know the deer in your area – do they have a favourite field that they like to feed in? The chances are, they do.
Do they tend to follow a familiar path through the field?
If so, try to anticipate their movements and get ahead of them. Ideally, you want the deer moving towards you, rather than the other way around.
But – and this is this tricky part – you must not surprise the deer; if you do, you’re likely to spook the them and they will take flight. The best thing to do to avoid startling them is to make sure you position yourself so when the deer first spot you, there is at least 50 metres between you and them. If the distance is much less than this, and the deer is not used to your presence, they will be off and the photographic opportunity will be gone.
But There Is One Major Advantage
Deer located in tall grass feel relatively secure, compared to when they’re moving about in the open area. So, they will get closer to you than they would normally do. The image at the top of this post is a prime example of this.
Technical Details of Image
Shutter time: 1/400 s Aperture: f/4 ISO: 200 Focal length: 260 mm