Went out fishing yesterday morning. Pond I went to was still half frozen. Nothing was biting on the non-frozen side.
After about an hour, something caught my attention out of the corner of my eye. It was a deer coming down to the water. It stopped about 30 yards from me. (Apparently either wearing a solid gray hoody or old spice deodorant makes you stick out like a sore thumb to deer.) Soon after another deer came up behind, and another, and another. Eventually there were seven deer staring me down. We did this for a minute or two and the deer turned and walked off over a little hill out of sight.
Deciding this was much more interesting than not catching any fish, I packed up and tried to quietly follow after them. I got past the little hill and found that they were keeping about 30 yards away and had clearly heard me coming.
Apparently there was one bedded down behind the hill because he (I say he but I really have no idea, they all had shed antlers already.) jumped up not 10 feet from me (scaring the bejesus out of me) and ran towards the others. However, he stopped about 20 yards away, turned and faced directly at me.
I just stood there for a minute and then tried to slowly move closer to try to get a picture. The deer stamped his foot. He continued to stamp his foot every 15-20 seconds. After a minute or two of him stamping, I picked up my foot and stamped it.
I don't think he liked that. We stamped back and forth a few times and then he... grunted at me? It sounded kinda like the noise a horse makes (not a "neigh" but the other one) only shortened. Like a "hufff".
He added the huffing to our stamping back and forth and after a couple rounds I tried my best to recreate the noise back at him. He huffed and stamped back. I did the same.
He turned and joined the rest of the group ten yards further away and they slowly walked away from me.
It was pretty awesome. Pretty much the coolest thing I've done outdoors. I think he was so brave because the pond is between two gated communities and can't be hunted and its a spot that is regularly jogged and visited by families so they are probably pretty used to deer in their general vicinity.
I only had my phone, took a couple pictures but with the distance and all the trees you can't make anything out. I'm gonna try to go back sometime in the next couple weeks and see if they regularly bed there. I'll make sure to take my wife's camera with a decent zoom on it. (I really need to get a good camera of my own so I'm not either unprepared or toting around a pink one.)
On a totally unrelated note, I read a rumor that IL is on the brink of passing CCW. Probably not a coincidence that it comes about the same week as Illinois Gun Owners Lobby Day. I'm crossing my fingers.
Have a good week everybody!