A grown fawn and a doe near the bird feeders in the back garden.
|A frequent occurrence this summer, a doe crosses my front yard. I took this photo with my old iPad camera, which isn't really that good, but it was all I had with me at the time.|
|Another doe along the back garden, again taken with my iPad.|
This was a banner year for deer activity on my property. Deer are no stranger to my woods and land. I have seen them many times through the years since 1993. But, this year was different. I think due to nearby residential development more of them are being pushed into relatively safe, natural areas, especially when rearing their young is involved.
Back in the early spring when I would walk my dog, Charlie, through the property it was common for him to be restless, sniffing at something in the air. I would often look out into my then leafless trees and see nothing. Then, suddenly, Charlie would charge a bit and start barking, making a big fuss. Suddenly, my woods came alive with 12-15 deer who had carefully hidden themselves from view. They were all over my woods, the most I had ever seen at once. This happened on several occasions.
Later in the spring, a few of them would come into my back yard to graze on various things, including Jennifer's prize tulips, much to her dismay. Three or four doe were the most common encounter but I did see a small six-point buck now and then. The deer became quite comfortable being around my house, with only Charlie to scare them away, especially at night when my dog was indoors.
In late-spring I was on my mower headed to the lower field to mow when I stopped. Right in the middle of my gravel driveway stood a doe nursing two fawns. I haven't seen many twin fawns in my lifetime. I stopped the mower, wishing I had a camera, and just watched until the mother and her babies moved along. She paused behind a small brush pile I have down there and continued to nurse the twins even as I was mowing near her.
A few weeks later I was driving up my driveway after work and saw yet another set of twin fawns with their mother. These were even younger, just born, with spots all over them. I couldn't believe my luck. Two sets of twins more or less born on my property in the same season! A rare event indeed!
Try as I might, I was unable to capture a decent photo of the fawns or of any other deer actually. They frequently appeared near the bird feeders in my back yard along the edge of one of the gardens. Charlie went crazy when, while resting on a couch that abuts the den window opening to the back yard and garden, deer would appear, grazing. Charlie growled and sank his nails into the window sill (already bearing the marks of previous freak-outs about cats or deer or whatever). The deer remain rather bold even as of this posting.
The photos presented in this post are the best I have unfortunately. The deer still appear practically every day but the fawns are now grown, the younger twins have few spots left at this point. They are all safe, if a bit aggravating, on my property. I don't allow hunting. But come later this fall, when deer season opens, many of them won't survive. They roam too far to be protected by my small amount land.
But that's just the way things work. I like venison as much as anybody. Some of these deer will end up in someone's freezer for the winter; a great time for stews and cubed steaks. Still, it has been fun watching them and allowing them to experience some small ease at being safe on my land. Some of them no longer fear me at all, they just watch me from a safe distance, as curious about me, perhaps, as I am fascinated by them.