Red deer (Cervus elaphus hippelaphus) use my neighbour’s abandoned property as a nursery, as it’s safer than being out in the forest with wolves, lynx and bears when raising their young. Now it’s rutting season, and many hunters are also out and about searching for the giant red deer stags which bellow night and day throughout the valley. Carpathian Red Deer stags can weigh as much as 500 kg!
This young fawn, which is still pretty damn big as red deer are huge creatures, was clearly mesmerized as we reversed the Discovery MK2 TD5 in order to turn it around. The fawn was so unaware of the dangers it faces (and it is a brutal life out here in the forests for animals) that it watched me get out of the car, walk back to my own house, get my camera, come back and then start filming. It stood transfixed the entire time, just watching the great white beast we call Vlochka (snowflake in Slovak).
Quite often we disturb red deer when we open the kitchen door as we’ll fnd them standing right outside it. They usually then bark at us for rudely disturbing them, then follows the sound of thunder as they all gallop away, leaping back over my back fence which they continuously manage to destroy. This year there are so many red deer about that driving on the small bush roads around my village is quite a nerve wracking experience. After the rut and throughout winter, the red deer gather into large herds, sometimes numbering 70 or 80 animals.
People often ask me if I hunt. The answer is no, not any more. I watch these animals grow up and see them daily. I much prefer to photograph or film them.
Filmed with a Panasonic Lumix FZ300/FZ330 with a Polaroid UV lens.
On location in the Carpathian Mountains of Slovakia.