Photographing Blacktail Deer in the Columbia River Gorge

Late February and it’s a cold, stormy day.

I grabbed the rain gear and camera. Soon I was on the east side of the Columbia River Gorge.

The next few hours were spent hiking in the area from Mosier, to the Memaloose Hills, to the Rowena Plateau and the Klickitat River Canyon.

Many small, but colorful wildflowers were in bloom. And, to my delight, I walked up on at least 30 blacktail deer.

I’m often asked: how do you find so many deer to photograph on your outings?

The trick is to use a quality camera with a good telephoto lens, stay downwind and see the deer before they see you. It’s just as easy as falling off a log.

Last year's Blacktail Fawn just rising from bed

Last year’s Blacktail Fawn just rising from bed

Grass Widows

Grass Widows

Blacktail Doe and last year's Fawn

Blacktail Doe and last year’s Fawn

Columbia Desert Parsley

Columbia Desert Parsley

Prairie Stars

Prairie Stars

Grass Widows

Grass Widows










Categories: Columbia River Gorge HikesTags: , , , ,


  1. Beautiful as usual John. Amazing the sizes of deer. We have lots of Whitetail deer here where we live about 27 miles north of Spokane, WA, growing up in Okanogan County it was the Mule deer and on the coast it is the Blacktail deer. Of course the Mule deer are the largest ones I have seen in Washington State, but did see some tiny ones over around Whidbey Island, not sure what they would have been. Had 15 Whitetail in our backyard this morning.


    • Unlike the Okanogan there are still lots of mule deer in Eastern Oregon. On the eastern slopes of the Cascade Mountains, there are a mixture of mule deer and blacktail deer. On the west side it’s pretty much all blacktail.


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