320 pages, 150 colour photos
Touching the Wild is the enchanting story about one man who has lived 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? His response: how could you not? For Joe Hutto, close proximity to wild things is irresistible. In Illumination in the Flatwoods he unveiled the secret lives of the wild turkey to great critical acclaim. 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 behaviour 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 Touching the Wild are gorgeous full-colour photos.
Part One: Some Interesting Mule Deer I Have Known
Chapter 1: In the Beginning
Chapter 2: And Along Came Rayme
Chapter 3: An Inflorescence of Mule Deer
Chapter 4: Peep's Diary
Chapter 5: Anne of a Thousand Days
Chapter 6: Living among the Mule Deer
Chapter 7: And Then There Was Possum
Chapter 8: The Babe
Chapter 9: Making a Case for Mule Deer Miracles
Chapter 10: Buck Friends
Part Two: The Essential Mule Deer
Chapter 11: Mule Deer vs. White-Tailed Deer
Chapter 12: The Essential Mule Deer
Chapter 13: High Society: Altruistic Does and Beneficent Bucks
Chapter 14: World as Perceived by a Mule Deer
Part Three: The Mule Deer in Crisis
Chapter 15: The Predators
Chapter 16: The Trouble with Mule Deer
Chapter: 17: Updates on Old Friends
Chapter 18: Provisions of Consciousness
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Joe Hutto is the author of Illumination in the Flatwoods, which was made into the celebrated PBS Nature documentary, My Life as a Turkey, chronicling his exhaustive study of wild turkeys. He is also the author of The Light in High Places, an account of living alone in the high country of Wyoming observing the life of the Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep.