Montana Outdoors

October 5, 2016

Where did it go?

This Whitetail doe was meandering along in the burn area of the Copper King fire with her head down, sniffing the ground. I suspect she was searching for a favorite trail that no longer exists. The photo was taken in the northeastern part of the burn, along USFS road 887 about three miles up Todd Creek.

White tail deer


  1. Kind of blends in, doesn’t it?

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Malcolm R. Campbell — October 5, 2016 @ 10:45 am

  2. What a great photo! Thank you for sharing all your wonderful excursions with us!

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Mary Helliwell — October 5, 2016 @ 10:51 am

    • Thanks Mary! It’s good to hear from someone in my neighborhood!


      Comment by montucky — October 5, 2016 @ 8:18 pm

  3. I’m sure the smell of the ash must really mess with their senses, especially when it’s wet.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by New Hampshire Garden Solutions — October 5, 2016 @ 3:04 pm

    • I’m sure it does, although I didn’t find it all that pungent. I guess I got used to the smoke smell over the last two months.

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by montucky — October 5, 2016 @ 8:21 pm

  4. Took me a minute or two to spot the doe – she blends in so well (and I’ve got my ‘distance’ glasses on this morning). I’ll bet there are signs of new growth very quickly. I’m always amazed at how the tree foliage regenerates, although blackened trunks seem to take some years (depending on the severity of the fire).

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Vicki — October 5, 2016 @ 5:40 pm

    • There will be new growth early in the spring, grasses and a few species of wildflowers. The smaller trees are dead in the places where the fire was heavy, and some that still have green in their canopy will die over the next few weeks. Throughout the area though, there are many places where most of the trees will survive.

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by montucky — October 5, 2016 @ 8:25 pm

  5. The ground looks so ashen. Of course it should since the fire was very recent but it is still very stark. I guess there wasn’t much brush beating and you could walk where ever you wanted. Unique picture, I have never seen a picture taken so soon after a fire.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Ron Mangels — October 5, 2016 @ 7:21 pm

    • There is a large variety of fire effects in this fire, from areas where it was very hot with nothing surviving to areas that were hardly touched, just skipped over. Monday I hiked with a friend about 5 miles down the road that leads to west from the Big Hole lookout trail head, and even that distance got us only to within a mile of the fire edge in that area where it stopped along the ridge on the west side of the Munson Creek canyon. Within the next week though I plan to hike into the fire area from the west side, along Thompson River, up the KooKooSint trail which leads directly into where the hottest part of the fire was (that is, if the trail is still usable). Then I will post photos taken there along with some taken where the fire crossed the Weeksville road at the northeast corner and some take from the east side. This fire was about as inaccessible as can be imagined.


      Comment by montucky — October 5, 2016 @ 8:37 pm

  6. You’d think an animal of that size would be easy to spot! Always amazing to see how red deer blend into a Scottish hillside too.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Jo Woolf — October 6, 2016 @ 12:29 am

    • It would have been very easy to miss seeing that deer, even though she was close. And yet when she runs she throws up that big white flag!

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by montucky — October 6, 2016 @ 7:57 am

  7. It certainly adds a poignancy to the old phrase about “there goes the neighborhood.” The regeneration to come doesn’t make it any easier for the animals now. Of course, they can — and do — move on, but still: home is home, and it has to be disconcerting and even disorienting for them. Over time things will improve. I still remember a photo Steve Schwartzman took of a white prickly poppy blooming in the midst of blacked land after our Bastrop fire.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by shoreacres — October 6, 2016 @ 6:04 am

    • It’s all part of the scheme of things. In the summer after the Chippy Creek fire here, which covered 150 square miles, I hiked into the heart of the burned area and found mule deer tracks on all of the trails.


      Comment by montucky — October 6, 2016 @ 8:05 am

  8. I thought it was remarkable that there is still some greenery in there.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Finn Holding — October 6, 2016 @ 6:19 am

    • When viewed from outside of a forest fire like that one sees huge plumes of smoke and especially at night large areas of fire, but there are still many places within the fire zone that remain nearly untouched. It’s well worth the effort to hike into a burn area and see what was destroyed and what wasn’t, especially in the spring/summer after the fire. Grass and brush fires I think are different, where nearly all of the vegetation is burned. I still plan to get inside the main fire area before snow covers everything up for the winter.


      Comment by montucky — October 6, 2016 @ 8:10 am

      • I hope the flora that survived will kick start the process of renewal so that doe can find cover and food.

        And I’m looking forward to seeing your images from inside the scorched zone. Are you planning to document the regeneration in images? That would be facinating!

        Liked by 1 person

        Comment by Finn Holding — October 6, 2016 @ 8:16 am

        • That particular doe will be fine: she was only a couple hundred yards from the edge of the fire area; why she was inside, I don’t know.

          Yes, I will try to follow the changes inside the main fire zone, but it is very difficult to get to it. I want to get some pictures in there before winter comes to serve as a baseline with which to compare some later during next spring and summer.

          Liked by 1 person

          Comment by montucky — October 6, 2016 @ 10:13 pm

  9. Talk about camouflage! I had to look hard to find her.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Mama's Empty Nest — October 6, 2016 @ 11:39 am

    • Yes, I thought the way she blended into the background was remarkable and there was really nothing much in front of her.


      Comment by montucky — October 6, 2016 @ 10:22 pm

  10. If you hadn’t mentioned the doe, i might not have noticed her. Camouflage is amazing that way! Made me wonder if she is sniffing for mushrooms, tis the season.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Tammie — October 7, 2016 @ 11:56 am

    • In a few days, when I visit that burn, I will try sniffing for mushrooms too!


      Comment by montucky — October 7, 2016 @ 8:25 pm

  11. Great photo, it’s got a very painterly quality to it. Fires are always sad.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Candace — October 8, 2016 @ 10:25 pm

    • She might have been just exploring the area, as I was. Rain has kept me from exploring more of the area so far and I’m anxious to. From the little that I’ve seen, this may have been more of a beneficial fire than a destructive one.

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by montucky — October 9, 2016 @ 8:14 am

  12. Like everyone else, I was stymied for a while until I finally found the doe in your photograph. No such problem in our Austin neighborhood, where deer wander the streets and people’s front yards. Actually there is sometimes a problem seeing them, judging from the occasional deer I see lying dead by the side of a road, presumably hit by a car.


    Comment by Steve Schwartzman — October 10, 2016 @ 6:35 am

    • I still wonder why the doe was in that place when she was. Unfortunately, deer being hit by cars is a sad and serious problem here too. Seldom happens on the country roads, only on the highways where folks travel too fast to get to places sooner than they need to.


      Comment by montucky — October 10, 2016 @ 8:09 pm

  13. Hi Montucky, You really showed the landscape after the fire (and perhaps during a bit with the smoldering embers). The fires are a mixed good and bad but after the fire will come regeneration of new plants & food for the critters. Have a wonderful weekend!


    Comment by wildlifewatcher — October 14, 2016 @ 9:55 pm

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