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Large stag deer stares curiously at motionless man sitting in his forest

White-tailed-deer are beautiful creatures that roam freely through many forests on North America and a few other countries in Europe. Shy and reclusive, these deer will often avoid contact with humans. Their keen hearing and smell allow them to detect predators and other animals long before they are seen. Deer are surprisingly stealthy in their retreat and they can slip away into trees and brush easily without making a sound. Deer are herbivores and they are hunted by many predators, and by humans, making the extremely difficult to approach. Even a large male, commonly referred to as a stag or a buck, will avoid people, despite the fact that they have formidable antlers that can be used as weapons in self defence. During the rut, or breeding season, stags have increased testosterone and they can be very aggressive, even towards humans. Their hooves and their antlers are capable of causing very serious injury. But as with almost all wild animals, keeping a respectful distance and acting in a non-threatening manner will usually be enough to prevent an unpleasant or dangerous encounter. This man has found that sitting very still and silently in a remote forest will occasionally provide him with a close look at the wildlife as they wander past him or around him. He set up a camera and took a seat on a gentle slope, deep in the woods. Before long, he heard the rustle of footsteps in the autumn leaves. A few female deer (does) appeared behind him grazed on the patches of green grass that still remained. A large stag with an impressive set of antlers followed close behind them and it wandered straight towards the man. He remained motionless and quiet as the deer came very close and stared at him curiously. Although they could smell him, and undoubtedly recognized him as human, they seemed unafraid. One of the females approached so closely behind that this man could feel her breath as she sniffed him and the camera. Something that this man has learned from being close to deer for prolonged periods is that they communicate with each other far more than we once believed. Even the most subtle ear or tail movement can have meaning in a herd and can raise the alarm if danger is perceived. They are attune to the eye movements and even the breathing of the animals around them, taking cues from small changes in behaviour. This man is breathing slowly and keeping his eyes slightly averted. His relaxed posture is meant to tell the deer that he is not in a position to give chase or cause them harm. It is believed that deer have hearing so keen that they can even hear the heartbeat of a human or an animal that is close enough. In this case, patience has paid off and the deer soon relaxed enough that even slow movements do not scare them off. Spending time in a tranquil forest with wild deer almost close enough to touch is one of the most peaceful experiences imaginable.