These are red deer at Knockreer House in Killarney National Park. I made a trip out there specifically to see the deer, and I ended up seeing a lot of them—but only by flagrantly flouting the rules. There was no fencing along the path when I spotted them, so I just stepped off and mushed my way through the bramble to get closer. This particular herd included four or five males, about a dozen females, and a few adolescent types. The females were pretty interested in me, but the males maintained a dignified attitude of not caring about some hairless little mammal with only two legs and no antlers.

Anyway, it turns out I wasn’t supposed to step off the path, but I didn’t know it at the time. I probably would have done it anyway, though. If I was going to be denied a visit with puffins,¹ I was sure as hell at least going to see the red deer. Naturally I really wanted to see them rutting, but no such luck. Maybe that’s a morning activity.

¹We were there at the wrong time. The puffins had all gone home to Iceland by the time we arrived. Boo.

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This is a big one for us. So, as we ask you to consider supporting our team's journalism, we thought we'd slow down and check in about where Mother Jones is and where we're going after the chaotic last several years. This comparatively slow moment is also an urgent one for Mother Jones: You can read more in "Slow News Is Good News," and if you're able to, please support our team's hard-hitting journalism and help us reach our big $350,000 goal with a donation today.

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