Friday, June 17, 2011

June 15 2011: Killer Deer or a case of Mistaken Identity?--on the Blue Ridge Parkway

This is my craziest outdoor experience I've ever had!

On Wednesday the 15th of June, my wife, cocker spaniel, and I arrived at the Peaks of Otter Campground, Milepost 85, on the Virginia Blue Ridge Parkway. We found a level campground site and parked our RV on Loop "T'. The campground is lush with quite a forest canopy and ferns and grasses everywhere. The deer here are quite used to people and generally don't run away when approached.

After dinner, about 8:30pm--just about sunset--I began walking my 28 lb golden red cocker spaniel (Murphy) around the RV campground. By the time we were walking along the upper loop light was gone; I spied a large, dark, stationary object ahead, on the right edge of the road by the leaves. My first reaction was that I had encountered a bear, but when I turned on my flashlight and pointed it at the object, I saw a large young female deer.

She was undeterred by the flashlight, so we slowly walked towards her, on the left side of the road. Her eyes followed us continually, until we were alongside of her. Murphy tugged at the leash to get closer, but I was wary of getting within the distance of her hooves. She didn't flinch or move.

I continued walking past her, but I kept my head turned towards her as I felt a little unsettled by this event. After she had followed us with her eyes and head for an arc of 180 degrees, I finally turned my back to her and continued walking Murphy.

Suddenly, I hear thundering hooves on the paved roadway, and the female deer rushes past us, dashing into the woods, and getting ahead of us--she then turns around and faces us! I've never experienced anything like this and am scared as to what this deer's intentions are.

I turn my flashlight onto her face and just watch her watching us, for about 30 seconds. I decide that this is not the time to continue walking this looppast here and instead take a left turn and head down a small path to the lower loop, all the while facing her and pointing my flashlight in her face.

When I get half way down the small path, the deer has not followed us any further--and I hear the voice of a fellow female camper who had observed all of this, asking me if the deer had won? I replied 'yes' and returned to my RV.

Below is the picture of my 28 lb cocker spaniel Murphy--do you think that I had encountered a killer deer, or do you think that the female deer thought that Murphy was a tiny fawn?


Anonymous said...

the same thing happened to me in Big Meadows - My family was walking a sma;; 20 lb dog and I saw deer braying at each other - in a triangle, I also saw that they had fawns in the thicket - they approached us in a trianglar fasion, foaming at the maouth and contimually braying at each other - my daughter was about 5 at the time and I was concerned for her safety - my companions could all walk past the deer without incident - it was then we realized taht they were after the dog - after my daughter was safetly removed a crowd of onlookers gathered around and forme a circle around me and the dog so it could not be seen - we were no more than 8 feet from each of the deer - they let us pass without further threats when they could not see the dog - dog walkers beware in in woods -
I like your version better though - she thinking it was a fawn

John's Outdoor World said...

Thank you for sharing your story! I go up to Big Meadows often and encounter deer--but not with my dog yet--I'll be extra careful when walking!

I'm thinking that your story is more likely--the deer see the dog as a predator...