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Where We Live by John Silveira and Richard Blunt. Photos and commentary from Oregon and New England.

Want to Comment on a blog post? Look for and click on the blue No Comments or # Comments at the end of each post.

Deer of Oregon, Part 1

Sunday, May 13th, 2012

They’re called the “town deer” for a reason. They’re not “tame,” but neither are they skittish as are the deer just a couple of miles out of town. I would imagine a lot of rural towns have them, though I don’t recall seeing them when I lived in small towns in New England. But they’re all over Gold Beach and they have become used to humans.

There are many mornings I open my front door, step out, and as many as eight deer are on the lawn, many lying down no more than forty or fifty feet away. They may eye me warily, but they often won’t rise to their feet, as long as I don’t do anything unusual.

I’ve become so accustomed to their presence that there are times I don’t even notice them. More than once, while putting things in my car, I’ve walked around to the passenger’s side and jumped because I caught something in the corner of my eye that moved, and I looked down and saw a doe, just five or six feet away, watching me. I’d put my stuff in the car, close — not slam — the door, walk back around to the driver’s side, and I’m ready to go.

The newborn fawns, however, are inherently skittish and, if they see you, they run, and the mommies, though not usually afraid of me, run with them. However, given time — a month or so — the fawns become accustomed to me and don’t run either.

If you live in the city, it may be hard to believe that wild deer will just lie there and watch you. But in Gold Beach it’s common.

This is where I live.

All of the photos here were taken with my old Canon 60D using my EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens. The first three were taken from my front door. The last one, of the girl hand-feeding the deer, was taken on the north bank of the Rogue River near one of the resorts. I don’t know who the girl is. I’m assuming she was a tourist.

I opened my door late in the afternoon, last November, and there he was. I stepped back in and grabbed my camera while he watched me. You don't usually see mature bucks, with full racks, here in town. I'd never seen this one before, and I never saw him again.

Shutter speed 1/250     f-stop 2.8     ISO 200     focal length 200mm


It was mid-July, 2011, and this fawn was one that had finally gotten used to my presence so, when I stepped out with my camera, it looked at me only briefly then went back to eating. I'm not usually sentimental, but this one has about the most beautiful eyes I've ever seen.

Shutter speed 1/320     f-stop 8     ISO 500     focal length 200mm


It rains here in the winter and the February afternoon this guy was on my lawn was no different. (Click on it to enlarge it and you can see the rain coming down.) If you look at its head, I think those are little nubs under its hair where antlers were going to grow, so I assume this was a young buck. This is the only photo of the four, in this post, that isn't cropped.

Shutter speed 1/250     f-stop 8     ISO 3200     focal length 200mm


The deer that hang out near some of the resorts are as familiar with people as the town deer. I was driving along the north bank of the Rogue when I saw the girl hand-feeding this doe. I pulled over about 200 yards up the road and took several photos of the girl and this almost tame deer.

Shutter speed 1/250     f-stop 2.8     ISO 100     focal length 200mm

3 Responses to “Deer of Oregon, Part 1”

  1. Kentucky Kid Says:

    First thought that comes to mind: do all those “town deer” hide during deer season, or do all the “country deer” come into town for the duration?


  2. John Says:

    The does and fawns hang in town in and out of season. The bucks are always wary and scarce, no matter the season. I think that if the “country bucks” came into town, they’d just be too much to resist. Just saying.

  3. Bill Says:

    I live in Brownsville, between Eugene and Albany, and we’re overrun with them. They’re a serious nuisance in a couple of ways for us. First, they eat gardens down to the ground and they’re so tame you can’t scare them away, fencing is the only option. Second, they attract cougars. We’ve been having cougar sightings right in the middle of town every few days for the last couple of years as the cougars have figured out there’s a ton of fairly slow and stupid deer available here.

    When you’ve got cougar killing deer in the middle of your city park it’s getting a little silly, but of course ODFW considers cougar and salmon to be much more important than mere humans these days so not much can be done until they actually attack somebody.

    The new animal that’s moved in around here are turkeys. We’ve got a couple of flocks of 20-30 birds each that live on the hill above me and wander through town. They’re not too much trouble although they will damage flower beds and such if they get in, they’re like giant chickens in that regard and they’ll stand in the middle of the road starting at you, you practically have to push them out of the way with your bumper.

    On the other hand, we’re pretty lucky to have those kinds of problems, there’s a lot of towns that have much more serious things to deal with so I’m not going to complain, as long as the bears don’t come back…



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