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      Nature Report: Opening Weekend

      Sometimes, you can sit for hours and never see a deer, but it doesn't mean they are not watching you.

      I'm not sure how long this doe has been studying me, but whitetail deer blend in perfectly with their South Texas brush land habitat, and they often remain motionless for extended periods of time. She finally decides against emerging from the thorny brush and slips back into the chaparral.

      Later, a doe moves into the clearing with a pair of fawns. Her twins are five or six months old now, and they share her acute awareness of their surroundings.

      The camouflaging spots they were born with have almost completely vanished except for a fading splash on their hindquarters.

      It is the opening weekend of whitetail deer season, and I am hoping a handsome buck will appear, but this first afternoon reveals nothing but antlerless deer.

      The next morning my luck changes dramatically, and just as the dawn fog begins to lift a magnificent buck materializes.

      His impressive antlers glisten with the morning mist as he fixes his gaze in my direction. And then, after only a brief appearance, he turns and moves back into the misty woods.

      Later, as the sunlight begins to burn off the early morning haze he appears again and his burnished antlers glow in the rich light. What a way to begin whitetail deer season in the presence of such a majestic buck!

      However, once again, his presence is fleeting as he returns to the thick woods where he first emerged. Even if I never see him again, I will never forget his appearance on this opening weekend of whitetail deer season.