Three deer are caught on this trail camera photo, with two of them leaping into the air as another runs past. Credit: Courtesy of Doug McGinley

When you capture a trail camera image that makes little sense — like this one, I’d assert — there’s not much you can do to really get to the bottom of things.

You can guess. You can ask for help. Or you can make something up.

Today, I’ll do all three. First, I’ll ask for your help: What do you think is going on in the woods of Alabama, where Doug McGinley set up his camera and got this shot?

Now, I’ll guess. Or make something up. Or both.

These three deer — one apparently running toward the camera, the other two leaping wildly while running in the opposite direction, are clearly professionals that belong to the eastern Alabama all-deer ballet troupe.

Look at the grace! The power! The leaping ability! No doubt about it, these deer are impressive.

Of course, I suppose the deer could be playing. Or maybe one startled the other two. Or perhaps there’s a predator nearby and the deer are simply freaked out and running for their lives.

Or, the correct answer could be, “none of the above.”

That’s the great (and frustrating) thing about trail camera photos. You can always make up your own version of reality to describe what you’re seeing … and you’re never sure if that version reflects the truth or not.

So for now, I’m standing firm: These are ballet-dancing deer. You’re welcome to provide your own caption.

Do you have a trail camera photo or video to share? Send it to and tell us “I consent to the BDN using my photo.” In order to prevent neighbors from stopping by to try to tag particularly large bucks, moose or bears, some identities and towns of origin may be omitted.

Watch more:

Avatar photo

John Holyoke

John Holyoke has been enjoying himself in Maine's great outdoors since he was a kid. He spent 28 years working for the BDN, including 19 years as the paper's outdoors columnist or outdoors editor. While...