Along the easygoing, meandering path of a typical Midwestern river, you'll find a mix of farms, fields, swamps and vast tracts of state and federal forestlands. Brush-choked riverbanks provide both sanctuary and, come deer season, consistent avenues of escape. Vegetation and mast-producing trees tend to be fuller and more reliable along river bottoms in dry years. As a species, the whitetail evolved along watercourses. In most of America, however--aside from the gator country of the Deep South--deer have never quite learned to fear waterborne predators, and unless they catch wind of him, a deer generally won't consider a man in a canoe a threat.