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Oh Deer!

Submitter: Henri Meulman
Description: Now.. this is the view from my workplace. Every day I enjoy the fact that these animals are bobbing around the antennas of the LOFAR telescope. When they look at me with their big innocent eyes, I am suddenly not so sad any more that they are using the LBA antennas to scrub their horns, and that now and then an antenna breaks down.

A few weeks ago there was another herd of deer. While I was repairing an antenna I heard a big bang, but it was not the one my astronomical colleagues are looking for. ...Bang!... another one. I hid behind the High Band Antennas. From my shelter I noticed a hunter only a stone’s throw away. The herd was exactly between him and my hiding-place. They stopped. They looked back. They were hesitating. To the right I saw another deer hiding behind some high grass close to a ditch. The hunter saw this too and was looking for a way to get closer. During this flanking movement, the deer ran away from him in the direction of the herd.

The hunter later told me that the LOFAR core area contained 28 of these animals. The government has ordered him to reduce this to 20. Otherwise there will be too many. He had to "do" another two, both female because they had no calves yet.

The hunter was very distressed. He did not like the idea that he had only wounded the animal and that it was probably in a lot of pain. "I will not sleep well tonight", he said, "but I will come back later with my dog. He will find the wounded animal". I told him that I had shot it too, showing him my camera. He said: "That is the nicest way!"

This was another ordinary day at an extra-ordinary telescope. By the way: I was never in danger! The hunter showed me the optical equipment on his rifle that ensures that a lost bullet will not hit an unwanted target.
Copyright: Meulman, Astron
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