I Think He's Noticed Me

A wild mule deer buck, Odocoileus hemionus, in the badlands of western North Dakota in late August. More specifically, this would be a Rocky Mountain mule deer, O. hemionus hemionus. I'm rather proud of this shot. Sure, I've seen better shots of deer out there, but I didn't take any of those myself. I also didn't spend an hour stalking any of those deer from the top of a butte like I did with this one.


I went up a butte/ really steep hill to look for snakes. Since one only finds snakes when one is not looking for them, I didn't see any. What I did see is a mule deer buck grazing near a large rock way down in the valley. I was downwind, uphill, and far away, so he didn't notice me.


I decided I would hike/ fall/ slide down the side of the butte/ really steep hill and sneak up on him. It took a long time, and finally as I was hiding behind a rock, he accidentally stumbled upon me. I managed to get a few shots off while he stood there sniffing before he and his companion bolted. This is the last shot of that series. Of course then I had to make it back up the butte/ really steep hill. Thank God for small junipers with really sound root foundations. They make adequate climbing ropes.


I know what kind of deer this is, but if anyone knows what point rating his rack would receive, I would like to know. I know hunters tend to rate antlers on a 1-10 point scale, or something like that, based on size and whatnot. I am curious as to how well this one rates.


Also, is the photo too dark? One thing I hate about photography that's viewed on a computer is it looks different to different people. It depends a lot on the monitor being used, what angle it's viewed at, and what personalized settings the monitor is on. That said, this looks ok on my monitor, and the settings and angle I use with it, but I can't speak for everyone.

  • ZViolet 6y

    What a beautiful photo! Just great.
  • Matt Reinbold 6y

    Thanks guys. I may submit this to some hunting groups or something so I can get a definite answer.

    Thanks for the comments Hoopoe. The background almost looks painted in to me. I can vouch that it's real, but it's still interesting to me how much it resembles a painting.
  • feltonbeasley 6y

    Wonderful image. The light on the antlers is super. Your comments reveal your effort in the image and your feelings for it. Well done.
  • ZViolet 6y

    It does look like a painting, because its so perfect.
  • ~Ranveig Marie~ 6y

  • Saranga Deva De Alwis 6y

    Wonderful shot !
  • Donna Shreck 6y

    Awesome shot.

    I saw it in Elk and North American wildlife
  • ozfan22 5y

  • J-Parkes 5y

    incredible capture. lighting is excellent. generally western states count points per side: in this case a 5x5, eastern states just add therm all up: 10 point.
    Great job on the stalk.
  • Matt Reinbold 4y

    Thanks, J-Parkes for clearing that up for me :)
  • Sandra 4y

    A magnificent capture!
  • ihatefog 4y

    Great shot, great lighting and awesome expression. So you didn't find any snakes, even when you were "falling" down the slope? Or wrapped around the roots of one of your hand holds? Darn! Seems like a nice place for them. We have a friend whose brother-in-law rescues rattle snakes and brings them home from all over the western states. he even has one who performs in costume (which is why i think he has been bitten so many times..she doesn't agree with his taste in clothing!)
  • William Erickson 4y

    Fabulous image...Really good....+++
  • Curtis Ripplinger 4y

    Well where I am from we'd call this buck a 4X4, we don't count the eye guards(the point right at the base of the antlers) unless there is an extra one or they are over about 3 inches. very nice buck. It is a really nice spread too.
  • Marcel van Hilten 4y

    ...lightning shot....
  • alfuso 3y

    love the angle!

    Great shot.
  • satish nikam 3y

    Like it any which way!
  • shadowshador 3y

    Great shot.
  • GEO M I 3y

    what a fun adventure you had! beautiful creature - great shot!
24 faves
Taken on August 30, 2009
  • ƒ/3.7
  • 72.0 mm
  • 1/500
  • 64
  • Flash (off, did not fire)
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