May 16, 2021

Our Resident Deer and Fawn

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Since arriving at camp, I had taken notice of what appeared to be a lack of much wildlife. Early on I had heard the local fox barking during the night, caught the flash of a hawk swooping through the thick forest, often being pestered by some other smaller bird more than likely in protecting their nest. But overall, it seemed quiet.

I put up a bird feeder in hopes of attracting a few forest birds to watch but so far natural food is highly abundant and no birds to the feeder; although one or two gray squirrels are keeping a close eye on that high hanging object. Oh, yeah, and yesterday, with a handful of rocks, I managed to chase a woodchuck back in the direction he/she came from. Hopefully it will stay away.

Over the years I have learned where our resident doe fawns, or at least where she leaves her fawn in hiding in the early days of life. I’ve also discovered that the coyotes learned where the same place was and more often than not the deer loses one or both fawns to those wretched, wily varmints.

Upon arriving to town this spring, one of the first things I noticed was that the 6-8 foot tall grass at the edge of the dense pine trees, where the deer historically has hidden her fawn, had been mowed down. I wondered where mother deer would choose to hide her little one.

One day, while taking a rest from working around camp, my brother and I looked down the trail that leads out to the West and there we spotted mom, standing at the top of a small crest and watching us as closely as we were watching her. Once she had determined that we were friends not foes, she began to move a bit to her right heading into the thicker undergrowth. Almost immediately, almost tripping over the heals of the doe, clumsily, a new-born fawn followed mom’s every move. They slowly disappeared into a small area of thick vegetation; not large and very close to camp. I wondered if this was where she would hide her package when it became necessary for her to move about for nourishment.

Over the next few days we would spot momma sneaking back into that same area. We stayed clear so as not to disturb anybody. Life, I figured, is tough enough for these two and I didn’t want to contribute to it.

The other day, once again while taking a break and sitting on the deck, my brother says in a low voice, “There’s your deer, Tom.” I turned slowly to see the doe standing in just about the same identical spot where I had first seen her. She appeared to be alone. (Note: I apologize for the blurry photos. It was a bit dark that day and some distance away with many objects between camera and target.)

DeernoFawn

Photo by Al Remington

The deer stared motionless at the two of us and once again deciding we were not a threat, looked to her right, in the direction she had taken her little one that first day. As near as I could tell, she didn’t make a sound, only to stare intently into the forest.

My brother moved slowly to retrieve his camera. His movement startled the mom and she quickly turned her head toward us. After a few moments, again determining the coast to be clear, she began to stare back in the same direction. Within moments that little fawn came bounding out of the thick vegetation and immediately began suckling on mom’s nourishment.

This lasted perhaps a minute or so, as both seemed delighted to see each other. We were also delighted to have been fortunate enough to see the wonders of the forest.

Soon, mom turned to her left and slowly walked away, the little one still struggling to get hold of one of mom’s nipples. She led her fawn back into the forest and we have not seen her since. I assume the fawn is now big enough to remain with mom at all times.

DeerFawn

Photo by Al Remington

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