Challenge: Free Study 2012-12 (Advanced Editing VII)
Collection: 2012 Challenges
Camera: Nikon D90
Lens: Nikon AF-S Nikkor 300mm f/4.0D IF-ED
Date: Dec 25, 2012
Date Uploaded: Dec 27, 2012
|I am so angry.
Two years ago, the small park where I shot this doe had a resident population of approximately 20 whitetails, including two healthy bucks.
The deer were tame and trusting enough to walk up to you and eat carrots and peanuts from your hand. The man who owned the property, a farmer, started feeding the herd back in the 80s and they stayed of their own volition and grew to look forward to accepting food from people.
It was common to see at least a half-dozen deer per visit, and soon we were able to recognize many by colour, markings, size etc. I got literally thousands of shots of this herd, in all seasons and weather, well into the following spring.
Then hunters began sneaking into the park and picking them off, probably with bows as it's within Ottawa city limits and discharging a firearm would definitely draw attention. I saw the remains of at least two carcasses. God knows how many others were there in the woods off the beaten paths.
One of the bucks had a shoulder wound that wept pus constantly, it seems that he had already been show with an arrow once.
How much of the herd was picked off, and how much lost to natural selection and how much simply remembered that we are indeed their natural enemies and up and left while they still could, is anyone's guess.
On this last visit, which took place Christmas Day, we saw only this one doe hanging out optimistically near a feeding station. She's not pregnant, as each doe I saw two years ago was at this time.
Almost as sad as the loss of the deer are the people who come trudging through the woods with their families, bags of apples and carrots in hand, many with cameras, hoping to get a shot of their child feeding a deer.
They leave disappointed. As am I.
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