I have tried to find the source of these photos, but have had no success. They came to me in an email, and had been forwarded to the person who sent them to me. I'm not 100 percent certain that the photos were taken in Maine, but I do know that deer yards exist in northern Maine.
A deer yard is a place deep in the forest where deer spend the winter. They do not hibernate per say, but they retreat into the forest and spend the winter in areas where they can find shelter from the cold and deep snow under fir trees. They spend 100 to 135 days in their "deer yard," depending how far north in the state and how cold the winter is.
They rely on leaves, twigs, and lichen for food. Their metabolism slows down in winter, so they can survive on fewer calories; also, they have the ability to burn the accumulated fat in their bodies as well the ability to reabsorb their muscle tissue. About 3 to 35% do not survive; fragile fawns and old bucks are the most likely to succumb.
There is a concern that as more and more of our forsest areas are devoloped, there will be less deer yards. White tail deer are not hardy enough to go farther north than southern parts of Canada. Efforts are being made as camping areas and snowmobile trails are are created to preserve large areas as wildlife refuges.
(I know this is usually my"silent Sunday" post, but I felt these photos required explanation.)