Best time for photographing the deer of Smokey Mtn. NP

Discussion in 'Nature' started by ron_chapman|1, Jul 30, 2003.

  1. I'm planning my first trip to Smokey Mtn. NP this fall to photograph
    the whitetail deer during there mating season. My question is when is
    the best time of the year for the rut there.My biggest lens for now
    is the 100-400 IS with the 1.4 extender, I hope this is plenty. I do
    know that Cades Cove is a good spot, is there any other great spots
    for deer or any other wildlife. Thanks for any info.
  2. awahlster

    awahlster Moderator

    be sure to keep in mind hunting season and the rules the hunters have to follow if you are going to be out in the woods. It would NOT be smart to be in an area requiring hunters to wear blaze orange and your not?
  3. I would call the local state Dept. of Fishygame. They keep up on those things. Keep in mind that it's also somewhat weather related--a cold snap seems to heat things up. Most likely the rut will be around the 3rd or 4th week in October.

    Kent in SD
  4. Kent,

    The majority of the Whitetail rutting activity - at least throughout the Midwest - tends to take place in November vice October.
  5. There are plenty of deer in the Cades Cove anytime of year, 400 mm will be plenty as they are almost tame. If you want deer, that is the place to be, most other places will be hit and miss, but in the fall you are guaranteed deer while driving the loop road at Cades Cove.
  6. I was in Cades the first week of December last year, and they said we missed the rut by about 2 weeks. Late November, early December does seem to be a good time to go as you have a better chance for getting frost in the morning. The frost makes for great conditions to photograph the deer in. Despite being past the rut, several bucks were out and about. I have a few random shots on my site. Your lens setup should be fine.
  7. There are always tons of deer around Cades Cove both in the evening and in the morning. They just come filtering out of the woods near dusk. If you go in first thing in the morning, they will still be there gradually dissapearing as the morning warms up.

    While you can get close to some of them, there will be groups that you can't approach without scaring them off and you will wish for even longer lenses.

  8. You will almost always see deer in Cades Cove. A 200 or 300mm lens should be plenty.
  9. The rut is mid November. With a lens set up, you should be fine.

    General deer photography in Cades Cove: Hyatt Lane, a gravel road that is a short cut through the Cove. I have gotten some great shots from my car with an 80-200 2.8 on Hyatt. The deer will be more active early in the morning and at dusk.

    Another area to look for deer is the outer perimeter near the restroom and visitors center. I have some great shots of bucks I took there in the spring one year.

    I am fortunate, I live only four hours from GSMNP.


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