Chasing the Deer

I’m a sucker for stories with magical gateways, portals, paths that lead to Fairyland. And in real life, I am constantly seeing gateways in the most ordinary places: an arch in a hedge, a dim path through trees, even a street.

I went out one night to photograph such a magical place and found myself captivated by fauna instead. The fauna, however, were captivated by flora.

Guess how many fawns there are in this picture.Missoula wildlifeThis shot was taken from about a block away. I kept approaching when the doe looked away. They moved away as I came closer.

All of a sudden, someone was yelling at me. I turned sharply to see an old man on a bike, admonishing me to “photograph the sunset!” I looked behind me. There was a little color in the sky, but nothing special. I shrugged and added him to my list of people who annoy me when I’m looking through a camera or binoculars.

He rode down the street a little and then stopped, saying, “Oh. Deer.”

Beth Partin's photos, Missoula wildlife, Montana wildlife

I guess this picture explains why people go to such lengths to deer-proof their yards.

They walked around the side of the house to the backyard.Beth Partin's photos, marauding wildlifeAll the attention was making them nervous, yet I was hungry for more photographs. I don’t have the lenses for wildlife photography, so I made the most of this opportunity.

The fawns began to get antsy, racing around. Missoula wildlife, Montana wildlifeI remembered that this new camera had video capabilities. While I was fumbling with it, the fawns wore themselves out and slowed down a bit, but the flags were still flying. After a few more minutes and 1 very boring, shaky video, I realized we were approaching Higgins, a busy street in Missoula that goes by the university district. Then it occurred to me that the deer probably wanted to eat more succulent plants from the Garden City’s yards, not cross a thoroughfare. So I turned around and went home, having been delighted by a bit of ordinary magic.