Hatteberg's People - Joelle Wales

By: Larry Hatteberg Email
By: Larry Hatteberg Email

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Sunday, April 24th, 2011

On Hatteberg's People, Joelle Wales is a 'deer paparazza'. New term for you? It was to me too. Jolelle is a Sedgwick County woman who has found a calling as a deer biographer. A few years ago she began keeping track of deer in a local outdoor recreation area. It blossomed as she got to know them. They now know her, and her photography and observations about the animals have given both, a new understanding of each other.

"It's one of the reasons I was called to this to learn patience."

It's being with these deer that has hooked Joelle.

"They just trust me! And that's what I get out of it. Just knowing that I have a connection."

"Come on guys!"
When she's not in the field with the deer, she's here in a quiet place at home, writing her experiences in a daily internet blog.

"I've always wanted to do something different, and it is exciting. It's never the same thing. There is just lots to a deer that just fascinates me!"

She began writing when one of the deer she was studying died.

"I wrote about it. I just wrote about the heartbreak of the whole thing because he was my baby, he was one of the ones that I studied."

Over time her pictures became closer and closer. Because she takes great care to blend in -- wearing brown and protecting herself from ticks and bug bites.

"You know where you are supposed to be and you be there."

Every day out in the field, she watches them and records their activities.

"Hopefully, more people will be aware of deer, that they are not just something to hunt.

They have a story and that's what I feel like I'm supposed to be doing....telling their story."

"I just became like a family member to them. It was just something that felt right from God!"

Through the woods, the briars and brambles she goes---because that's where 'they' are.

The deer have accepted her so well, that they permit her to be close as she films feeding time....while others seem to pose for her camera.

"It's just magical, it really is."

She knows their families, their favorite haunts, their rituals and their lineage.

And through her photographs she sees the deer not as simply wildlife, but as individual members of a family. A family visible only to those they trust.

"Josephine is the one with the floppy ear."

Joelle Wales is one of those fortunate people.

"It's what I was created for. I really believe that."

To view her blog CLICK HERE

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