Frosty Morning

This is up on the South Fork of the Snake River in Wyoming. Sometimes in the early morning hours after a really cold night, all the trees are covered with white frost and everything has a “sugar coating” on it. These elk are selecting a place where they can cross the river and get up into the mountains on the other side of the river.

Once I watched a doe deer and her two fawns slide down a big steep snow bank, on their rear ends and land in a lake, then swim back to shore and run back up the hill on dry ground, then get out on the snow bank, sit down again and slide down again till they hit the lake and swim out again and repeat this game over and over again. They were having great fun! It was the same as if I was watching people.

These deer would stand on the top of the snow bank where it started to get steeply inclined downhill, then they would let their hind legs collapse, toes pointed toward the front legs, and their rear ends would hit the snow, so they were in a sitting position with their front legs still standing. Then they would use their front legs to pull them forward, digging their pointed toes in the hard snow to get purchase until they got momentum going downhill, and they would slide in this position, butt in the snow, front legs used to keep them from tipping over sideways and whoosh- away they would go whizzing down the hill till they splashed into the lake, they were having a ball.

It was summer time, but at that altitude, there were sizable snow banks, quite hard and compact along parts of the lake, which hadn’t melted yet, and these deer were thoroughly enjoying their slippery slides. I have never seen deer do that, except that one time.