I was out for a walk round on a new piece of ground with a friend of mine yesterday evening, predominantly looking for a buck (mainly fallow here). We hadn't seen much on our walk round apart from a doe and follower on an opposite bank which isn't ours so we glassed them for a bit then carried on. Just as the light was fading we made our way to the last and largest field as everytime i have been to this particular farm i have seen deer there.
The ground falls away nicely to a stream at the bottom and a steep bank going up in the distance. We'd been making quite a fast pace along a thick hedge with the field below us and on the other side of the hedge. As we got near to the wood where i had seen deer appear from in the past there is an opening where you can see pretty much the whole field. I crept up to this point with my mate right behind me, sure enough there was a deer there, a doe facing away from us and quite happily munching the third cut of hay. As i shuffled round for a better look i was stunned to see a further 5 does and 3 doe followers aswell. It isn't a common sight to see that number of deer in one spot round here, a couple of the followers were jumping around like newborn lambs and all of them seemed totally unaware of our presence so we sat watching them for what seems like ages, as the light got to its real last legs we were hoping that a buck may still present itself. The does made there way slowly back towards the wood and almost melted away into the overhanging canopy, sensing that the chance of a buck was pretty much gone we started talking about the deer in hushed voices when all of a sudden i saw a movement at the far end of the field which is a good 600 metres away. Up with the binos and it proved to be a fox.
Ever the opportunist i gave a squeak and readied the rifle. The fox changed course and made its way up the field towards us and i was confident a shot was on the cards. At this point the fox was passing around 50 yards from the deer who were still feeding. It got to within about 200 yards so i eased the safety off thinking that at any minute it would stop and present a shot. At this point one of the previously serene and busily feeding does rushed over and charged at the fox which sped over to a cover strip. The deer about turned and headed back to the group. Straight away the fox reappeared and after another squeak started heading towards us for a second time. A complete re-run of what had happened before played out, with the fox beating a hasty retreat only this time not to be seen again.
Has anyone encountered such behaviour before from other species of deer or at only certain times of the year. I personally had never seen this before.