The roe deer that got away

The roe deer that got away

This morning I went for a morning run down a pretty canal, over a little bridge and through some wide-open fields. I passed a smiley lady who was walking her dog, said ‘good morning’ to a friendly chap up and about tending to his barge, before catching a glimpse of a woman pouring her first cuppa of the day through the kitchen window of her pretty barge.

I was beginning to slow down and take a breather when I spotted what I thought was a deer over in the distance to my right. Perspective can be deceiving so for a moment I thought it might possibly be a rather large rabbit or hare but then its white, fluffy looking rump patch came into view and it looked up, giving me the chance to see its majestic profile. Seconds later the deer began to run but not in a bouncy spring lamb kind of way. The deer was running like springbok run from leopards and cheetahs on wildlife documentaries. Apparently the white rump on a male or ‘buck’ deer is particularly conspicuous when the deer’s hairs are puffed out if it is alarmed. From the corner of my eye I noticed something was chasing it – quite a large brown-black dog. Within moments the deer was galloping in my direction, being closely followed by the dog. I was standing on a path that separated two fields; if the deer was going to escape it would have to run through the spot where I was stood. I quickly took a couple of steps to the right and watched as this utterly beautiful male roe deer with pointed antlers bolted past me, no more than a couple of feet from my own. It was a most beautiful moment. Its chiselled face and piercing eyes screamed panic and alarm but its body looked graceful and its legs moved in a perfectly synchronised galloping gait. It is not like me to miss a photo opportunity but in those few minutes I was so entranced by what I was witnessing, I don’t think I even blinked let alone thought about taking a photograph.

I was quickly shaken from my trance as the dog was following closely behind, bearing its teeth and drooling from the mouth. I entered animal rescue mode and tried to think of a way to ‘break it up’ and distract the dog to give the deer a chance to escape. Unfortunately my attempts at wildly waving my arms about and shouting ‘stop it’ at the top of my lungs didn’t seem to do, well, anything to improve the situation. I must admit I was, for a split second, just a little concerned for that of my own life as the dog wasn’t the prettiest thing I’ve ever seen and it did seem to have a face that looked like it was on a mission to eat something or someone before lunchtime.

I watched as the chase continued past me across another large field and into the entrance to some woods. I thought about running across the field but let’s face it, I hadn’t got a hope of actually catching up with either of them and a ‘no trespassing’ sign put me off – I wonder if dogs can get in trouble for trespassing on private property? Hmm, I secretly hope so. Standing there alone wondering where on earth the owner of this dog was, I squinted to focus my eyes into the distance and worried for the life of the deer. Had it got away? Was it safe? It’s a good job I wasn’t going for a new PB this morning, the amount of time I was stood there waiting for proof of life.

Not long after, the dog raced around to another opening to the woods – I assume waiting to see if the deer reappeared. The deer was nowhere to be seen and shortly afterwards the dog started bounding back across the field towards me. I could hear the very faint call of the owner…better late than never. I stood well out of the way this time just in case I looked in any way interesting to the dog, and I felt relieved that its face and body didn’t show any signs of an attempted attack on the deer. Luckily for the owner who was far in the distance, he didn’t get the opportunity to hear me politely suggest out loud that if his dog is in the business of chasing things, that he might like to think about putting it on a lead, particularly when walking in such close proximity to woodland and nearby to the natural habitat of wild deer. Hopefully the thrill for the dog was all in the chase and no harm came to the deer. One things for sure though – I won’t forget the sound of those four hooves galloping towards me and the intense look of fear in his eyes. Isn’t wildlife spectacular!

*The image of the beautiful roe deer I have used here is unfortunately not the one I spotted as I was too transfixed by what I was seeing to think about snapping a photo. I’ve had to resort to a stock image but it does quite closely resemble the little fella I watched galloping past me 🙂 


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