My Deer Ones

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Deer hunting season in North Carolina ended on January 1st and I’m always happy to see it go. Don’t get me wrong. I understand that the deer population needs to be culled and many hunters do it responsibly and with respect. It is just hard for me to hear the gunshots or a pack of hunting dogs on a scent behind my property. I cannot think of anything more terrifying to a deer that a pack of dogs on its trail.

I know that some take refuge in a certain area of my land at night and I bless them in the morning when I see where they have bedded down. The truth is that I love these magnificent creatures and consider them MY deer.

These are the ones who come onto my land in the spring and leave their fawn for safekeeping as the doe go off to feed. I have come across these young, speckled fawn over the years. Once when I was quietly pruning blueberries, I almost stepped on one nestled in between the blueberry bushes.

Another fawn had a particularly challenging start to its life when my dog found it untended in the woods. I heard this scream and looked up to find a very young fawn being pulled out of the woods by my lab. No! You cannot kill Bambi!, I thought, and ran over to get my dog off of it. Separated and unharmed, the poor little fawn wobbled off down the slope to get away from this canine. I knew mom would find it and took the dog in the house.

A few weeks later, once again, I was outside working and heard that scream again. Sure enough, my dog grabbed that fawn for a second time. It was now a little older and stronger and after I separated them, it lay there panting for a few moments before it got up and calmly returned to the safety of the woods. Another close call for Bambi, but saved. I like to think my dog just wanted a playmate, but I also understand her hunting instinct and take no chances.

And yes, the story is not quite over. This fawn appeared once more a few weeks later. I noticed the mother first, grazing on the grass. Then I saw the fawn, much larger with fewer spots. It saw us too, but this time it just tossed its head and gracefully pranced out of range of the dog who found it twice before. I just laughed with the knowledge that it survived at least into its adolescent years.

They come, first one or two and then in larger groups into the blueberry patch to feed in summer. Does bring their fawns, some with twins, some accompanied by a buck. I don’t worry about it. There are enough berries for all of us. I realize that I am not the owner of this land, only the steward. And I am also not the only creature to call it home.

One summer, I watched three deer walk into the blueberry patch to feed. I went out onto the porch and whistled. All three deer came out of the patch, stood in a row with ears peaked, looking over at me. I could just hear them saying to me, ‘What? Can’t you see that we are feeding?’ I told them that I was just about to come out with the dog and thought it would be best if they left. And they did, begrudgingly. I’m sure they came back later to continue their dinner when they could do so undeterred by the ‘guard’ dog.

And so the cycle begins once more. Those who survived the hunt will return and leave their fawn for safe-keeping as they go off to feed. Later in the summer, I will see blue scat in the blueberry patch as they continue to enjoy the blueberries. Another year of living in harmony with MY deer on the farm.

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5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. mochateaoh
    Jan 03, 2018 @ 12:22:15

    It’s a beautiful story. Thanks for sharing it . . . and Happy New Year.

    Reply

  2. the_tovarysh_connection
    Jan 03, 2018 @ 21:15:05

    Thank you, Curt. And Happy New Year to you too

    Reply

  3. insearchofitall
    Jan 04, 2018 @ 09:36:37

    Loved reading this, Celine. I too love deer and have a hard time with the hunting thing especially if it’s for sport. Maybe one day your lab will be one of those we see on YouTube playing with the deer. Thanks for sharing this.

    Reply

    • the_tovarysh_connection
      Jan 04, 2018 @ 10:18:56

      Thank you, Marlene, for your encouragement. I’ve been wanting to write a little more about the farm b/c there are so many wonderful things that happen out here, which is why I love living here so much. Every so often I’ll post something in my own voice describing my life.

      Reply

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