The buck lifted his head and stared at me as I tried to move closer.

I was driving around Fair Oaks Ranch looking for a picture to go with a story on stage 3 water restrictions but wasn’t having any luck. Some days are like that.

It also didn’t help that my eight hour shift had turned into a twelve hour and counting marathon. It had been a very long hot day and after logging nearly 200 miles, I was tired and I was hungry, but the clusters of deers running across the street and feasting on lawns were an unexpected diversion.

deer hill country

He turned toward me and then another buck to his left stopped eating the grass on a manicured lawn and joined him in the stare down.

I stopped in my tracks. No more clicks now, don’t want to provoke the animal.

Moments earlier I was crisscrossing the residential streets looking for anyone doing anything outside. As I rolled down one cul-de-sac after another at five miles per hour, I wondered which would happen first; would someone call the police to investigate a compact cruiser or would I happenstance upon a picture.

But the streets were empty. As one may guess, many folks had not come home from work yet and those that were home weren’t foolish enough to leave the sanctuary of central air.

So when I turned a corner and about two dozen deer ran across the street, a part of wondered if I had really just seen that and another part was excited to take advantage of the setting sunlight.

I pulled over and walked closer to a small group that was grazing, trying to make the most of the crimson glow fading behind the horizon.

Maybe I can sell it on the “the grass is all dead and even the dear are starving” angle I told myself.

They were everywhere, encroaching on homes as if they couldn’t read the no soliciting signs. Or maybe it’s the other way around?

I fired off a couple frames and slowly and deliberately composed each shot, trying to make the most of it, but I’d gotten too close and now a pair of stags were eying me.

It was time to go, no point pressing my luck any further.

I slipped back into my car and slowly backed down the road, with one eye on the rear view and another on the bucks now standing guard.

I continued driving and the hunt for people doing anything, dodging the dears that were now amalgamated to their new surroundings.

I asked some folks what the story was, they all shrugged and looked at me like I was speaking Canadian.

As the sun was going down I approached a man who was squeezing in some practice on the putting green at a golf course.

“One more thing, it might sound weird,” I said as we finished talking about water restrictions. “What’s with all the dear?”

“Oh,” he laughed, miffed at the seemingly silly question. “It’s… the hill country.”