It used to be that the deer would run away when they saw you. Not any more. Some of them, like this deer (photo courtesy of Lindsay, since Curly is better at standing still when a deer pops up out of the grass than Zelda), stand their ground. I saw what appeared to be the very same deer, in the very same spot, last week, but needed both hands on my reins.
Today, the deer turned the tables on me. They went beyond standing their ground. Three young does came bounding up the hill after me and Zelda, but they didn’t run away from us, they ran AT us! I had that fleeting memory of the children’s book, “Are you my Mommy?” and wondered if they’d mistaken us for one of their own kind. Normally, Zelda is pretty nimble when a deer spooks her. For a big horse she can turn and run in the other direction at record speed. But this surprised her so much that she just stood and stared. Eventually the does gave up and bounded off through the tall grass, graceful as gazelles.
Then, there are the two young bucks in Freedom’s pasture. They won’t let me close enough to catch a good photo, but I see them there almost every evening that I feed, their baby antlers covered in velvety fuzz. The first time I saw one of them I thought that Dandy had gotten back in with Freedom. The deer, after all, was the right color. But then he raised his head and revealed about 6 points of antlers. Not Dandy. Now they are regular visitors. There’s enough grass for all.