Teetering Antelope Fawn

A.M. Ruttle

Jackson Hole, United States

Artist's Description

I now believe in the power of bonding… but let me backtrack. I was on a mission to find a great horned owl nest, and never got there because I stopped to watch two antelope does in Grand Teton National Park. Maybe, I thought, just maybe there’s a fawn hiding in the grass.

Stopped the car, got the camera out to use as binoculars. And darn if one of the does wasn’t giving birth that very moment…. click click click (long shots, but I could see the calf poking it’s nose and front feet into the world).

I let mom get settled and then walked slowly into the sage; she predictably walked off to lure me away from her fawn. But not far. Sure enough, there was a little fawn in the sage, and after a few minutes, it gathered its strength and tried to rise to come toward me.

Now I’m thinking, is this baby imprinting on me? Or maybe coming toward me because the tripod legs look like mom’s legs? Whatever the reason, it followed my encouraging tones, eye to eye with me all the while as it tried to crawl, then tentatively tried to get to its feet. Mind you, this is less than half an hour after being born. I was able to lead this little one’s first steps, wavering, teetering, with an occasional face plant, over to its twin who was already dried and settled in some grass nearby.

As I backed away and watched from the road side, I saw the mother antelope circle downwind, then approach slowly to reconnect with its babies. Truly the very best way to spend Nature Photography Day being celebrated by NANPA (details at nanpa.org).

(A note about the blurred parts of the image… those of you who follow my work know that I’m into tack sharp detail unless I’ve created an obvious in-camera blur. In this case though, there’s blur in the nose, front leg, and remains of the umbilical cord, and these are what I would consider acceptable artistic license to create movement and a different “feel” to the image.)

Canon 40D, 24-105mm lens, tripod. Near Jackson, Wyoming. Views 310 through 11 August 2010, thanks for dropping by!

Featured in:
- High Quality Animal Images, March 2010, thanks so much!
- Great Plains of North America, April 2010, thanks so much!
- Even-Toed Ungulates, May 2010, thanks so much!
- Antlers, Racks, and Other Horned Animals, June 2010
- HOSTING TUTORIAL CLASS, September 2011
Thanks so much!

Artwork Comments

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