The Smell Test

I'm no wildlife biologist, but here's a curious tidbit.

 Last weekend, my boyfriend and I were talking to a neighbor about jogging in our area of the Lower Hudson Valley, just above New York City. We all run the same trail in a wooded historic park. The two of them are more committed runners than I am, doing 3-plus miles four to six times a week. I only do about a mile two or three times a week. They've also been using the trail for a number of years -- longer than I have. 

During the course of the conversation, we got on the topic of deer encounters on the trail. I'll run into whitetails every so often, but before I get close, they spook, crash through the trees like the legions of hell are at their heels and disappear. I rarely actually see them, I'll just catch a flash of white tail disappearing over a hill. 

 _However_, my boyfriend and our neighbor have the exact opposite experience. They'll routinely run up on deer standing right in the trail and refusing to move. They'll try to shoo them away, and the animals still don't leave. One morning, my boyfriend came up on a doe and a fawn. He slowed, stopped and tried to spook them off the trail, but Mamma just looked at him -- he couldn't get her to go. 

 So, my boyfriend and our neighbor are now entertaining the theory that because they run this area so often the local deer are used to their scent and therefore not threatened by their approach. I, on the other hand, as the less frequent runner am not as familiar to the local wildlife, so I'm still perceived as a danger.

 I guess that makes sense, but as previously stated, I'm no wildlife biologist. Sound theory? Or something else? Maybe the deer just instinctively sense I work for F&S and figure they should clear out. -K.H.