Touching the Wild

Touching the Wild

Living with the Mule Deer of Deadman Gulch

Joe Hutto


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One man chronicles living with a herd of mule deer in the Wind River mountains of Wyoming for almost seven years.

Why, you may ask, would a person choose to do such a thing? The response from Emmy Award–winning filmmaker, writer, and naturalist Joe Hutto: how could you not? For him, close proximity to wild things is irresistible.

In Illumination in the Flatwoods Hutto unveiled the secret lives of the wild turkey to great critical acclaim. Now, in Touching the Wild he turns his acute sense of wonder and affinity to one of the West’s quintessential “big game” animals: the mule deer, a species in peril due to environmental factors.

Wily, thoughtful creatures, mule deer are not inclined to make foolish friendships with their primary predator—man. But due to the intense curiosity of one small doe, and the resulting introduction to an entire herd, Joe Hutto has been allowed unprecedented access and insight into the minds and behavior of this special animal. Spending every day among the herd, he develops uncanny connections with the deer, learning individual and group dynamics as well, unveiling just how much we have in common with these delicate beings.

Each season brings new joy as fawns are born and heartache as matriarchs pass away, or hunting takes its toll, or a fawn is orphaned. But what overwhelmingly emerges from Touching the Wild is the enormous respect Hutto has for all wild things and the recognition that we have so much to learn from them about their world, ourselves, and the fragile planet we share. Throughout the book are gorgeous full-color photos.

“Very accessible for readers, who not only will learn quite a bit of mule deer ecology but also care about their fate. Full of color photographs of Hutto with the deer, this companion book to an upcoming documentary on PBS’ Nature will charm anyone who has ever enjoyed a distant view of deer.” —Booklist, starred review