Happy Thanksgiving

It has become a tradition for me to make sure I spend Thanksgiving morning out enjoying nature as being able to immerse myself in the natural world is an aspect of life I am most grateful for. I had an awesome morning. The mule deer rut is in full swing so I donned all my camo and got out to the river before it got light. I included a couple of photos of me in my camo as some folks have asked to see it. It is far from flattering or fashionable attire but I think you can get an idea how effective it is when seen against a sagebrush backdrop. I bathe in scent killing soap, wash my camo in scent neutralizer and use scent elimination spray before heading into the brush. It certainly worked this morning.

I passed a band of wild horses feeding in a meadow by the water as I made my way deeper into the river bottom. Noting their location I was reassured that no matter what happened I wouldn’t get skunked for photo ops today.

I had not seen any deer as of yet and the woods were quiet. I wondered if I was going to see any deer. I was setting up my tripod and deciding where I should plant myself at the intersection of deer trails and all of the sudden the area was alive with deer. I had a spike and a small two point walking through a small grove of cottonwoods and heard more deer crashing around in the high grass about 75 yards to my left. I could see the large rack of a 4 point over the tops of the grass as he was chasing some does around but could never get a clear photo of him. Meanwhile the two smaller bucks just ignored me as I stood still and shot away at them. The two point heard the camera clicks and was alert to something amiss and never showed himself fully but the spike eventually lay down in the grass close to me but not where I could photograph him.

Something startled all of them at one point and they all ran away. It wasn’t me. Maybe a coyote or another hiker along the trail I hadn’t seen. I sat down in the sagebrush to wait for everything to calm down. A few minutes later a doe came charging through the brush and almost collided with me. We were both startled! Behind her a smaller 4 point came into the clearing so close I couldn’t get a photo. He saw me but couldn’t quite figure me out. He ran off and I got the slightly blurry photo of him as he scrambled off.

I decided to walk through the woods toward the place I had seen the horses. Looked into a thicket of young cottonwoods and saw a sleepy Great Horned Owl. Was able to take a few photos without disturbing him and moved on to the horses.

I have seen this band before and the herd stallion is a particularly good looking flaxen chestnut. He has passed his coloration on to his son complete with white blaze. The other looker in the band is a seal brown mare with a broken star on her face. I got some mediocre photos of the horses the grasses were in the way of some of the shots but all in all a very good day.

A perfectly happy Thanksgiving morning for me.

20 thoughts on “Happy Thanksgiving

  1. Excellent photos and very entertaining story. I like your approach to wildlife photography – the gear, preparation and attitude are a bull’s eye. BTW: I need to upgrade my tripod and monopod this winter and would like to know more about your system?

    1. Thanks Nick. At times I think I am a bit over the top. 😉 I sort of feel like I have the power of invisibility when I am out there and animals seem oblivious to my presence . It is thrilling and somewhat addicting. I am still getting used to the discipline of carrying a tripod. I went to a wildlife workshop and the pro teaching it never took a shot without being on his tripod. First step for me was to get a lighter one with a good easy release system for ease of use so I would carry it and use it. After a lot of research I settled on the following system and I am quite happy with it. The carbon fiber is expensive but so much lighter that I don’t mind carrying it.

      Induro CT-214 8X Carbon Tripod 4 Section 61-Inch Max Height 26lb Load
      Kirk BH-3 Ball Head with Quick Release Platform, 15 lbs (6.8kg) Load Capacity
      Kirk Arca-Type Quick Release Lens Plate for Canon 100-400 f/4.5-5.6 IS Lens

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