Sometimes I wonder who is tracking whom. I love to find deer in the woods in the winter, partly because they’re easier to photograph with the white background, but usually just because I love to see them. There are certain deer paths in the forest, and once you know how to find them, you can always spot them. So if you patiently wait in the summer by one of these paths, you’re bound to find deer.
|Fresh deer track.|
Winter makes it so much easier to find them, though, because of the snow. And you don’t have to find an established deer path, either. Just follow the tracks. It sounds simple enough, but I swear sometimes they play tricks on me. They double back on themselves. They leap into unknown (unfound) areas beyond my imagination and capabilities. They seem to disappear into thin air.
Take this track in the picture, for instance. It’s quite fresh. It hasn’t grown or gotten warped or distorted from temperature changes. It’s a perfect size and was very recently made. Today’s weather was actually a little above freezing temperature and this track is not remotely compromised, which often happens with older tracks. Freezing, thawing, and refreezing will distort a track into something huge and almost unrecognizable. That’s why people sometimes think they have found “Bigfoot” tracks. It’s just the snow and weather playing tricks on them. Sort of. Maybe. Not really. Okay, using Bigfoot might not have been the best example.
But anyhow, this beauty was left here less than half an hour ago; I can tell. It was a good-sized deer, too. I would have loved to see her. I can’t help but think that she was hiding just behind a group of trees, not more than several yards from me. She watched me closely and quietly and did her best not to giggle at my confusion and inability to find her. She stayed motionless, wondering what I was doing with my camera. She watched me as I measured the distance from print to print, so close they were because she felt comfortable and safe.
I’m not sure if she stayed where she was and just continued to giggle at my antics. Humans are terribly stupid at times, and I am the quintessential example of tomfoolery. Or maybe she just leapt away--silently, quickly, like the wind--leaving more tracks for a slower species to jealously follow.