As January rolls around, even Kansas white-tailed deer tend to yard up from their more scattered fall habitats. Now, it’s not uncommon to see large groups of does and fawns intermingled with bucks on feed sources. Additional eyes and ears help to even the odds against predators when foliage is fallen and deer are easy to see. Congregating helps ensure late breeding success, too, so that most does, and even some doe fawns, will carry young for the next season.
Of course, the main reason that deer herd up in winter is to find the best food to carry them through harsh conditions. And it all works together for good from a biological standpoint.
The whole deal makes viewing and photography better too, should you care to trek afield. And I do. Today’s warm conditions made a high vantage overlooking a valley travelway a great place to sit. And the reward was ample when a mixed group of deer came down the draw. They approached for some nice video, but that’s when the cooling thermals carried my scent into their pathway. That slowed and turned them back, though only a few seemed to register the danger. Even so, mission accomplished. It was a fine winter show for me, and a short detour for them to their feeding destination.