I try to take my dog for a walk twice a day - once in the morning and once again in the afternoon or evening. One early summer, late afternoon day last year, my dog and I were walking down my driveway through the meadow that is outside of my house. I stopped as I saw something brown in the grass. I thought it might be an injured animal. Fortunately, my dog was on a leash and since we hadn’t gone far, I took him back to the house so I could investigate.
What I saw blew me away. It was a baby deer. It wasn’t afraid of me at all. It was curled up in the grass, like a puppy sleeping. I took a couple of pictures and went back to the house. I did what I always do whenever any problem arises. I Googled it. I learned that when deer are first born, they can’t keep up with their mom, so she finds a spot that she thinks is safe and leaves the baby deer to go out and do her daily deer mom stuff. Sometimes those spots are in grass like in my meadow. Other times it’s by downed trees or bushes. Baby deer give off no scent and don’t have any fears yet, so predators cannot easily find them. They just hang out and wait for mom to come back. This baby deer was probably 3-5 weeks old.
I decided that I needed to keep watch and to make sure that mom came back. I stood on my deck and waited. Eventually the mom returned and the baby deer got up and went with her.
For the rest of the summer though, I saw them hanging out around my house, surrounding forest and on dog walks in my neighborhood. It was really cool to watch a deer grow up.
Something that most people don’t know is that deer are actually fairly vocal. They make a throaty, grunting sound. It sounds like a cross between a person with throat cancer trying to shout and a bizarre bird squawk. If you ever want to hear it yourself, just Google it. There are a number of YouTube videos of deer making their grunting screech. What I’ve observed is that they primarily make noise when they’re upset or trying to find their friends or family. I hear it most at night surrounding my house. Sometimes they’re so noisy that it’s hard to sleep.
One day towards the end of the summer on a dog walk I saw the deer mom, by herself in my driveway. I stopped to let her pass, but she didn’t. She held her ground. I did too. She acted like an agitated horse and started stomping her hoof into the ground. She made the irritated screech noise and jumped up into the air. Finally she ran away. My dog and I continued our walk down the driveway and through the neighborhood. For the entire walk the deer followed us staying at the edge of the forest watching. It seemed clear to me that her deer child was now gone and she was looking to us for answers - like maybe we were the culprits or at least knew something. Eventually we crossed another meadow. The deer mom came out into the clearing and stared at us. She raised her head, screeched into the air and ran into the woods. I never saw her again.
Now it’s a new summer. This year there is a deer teenager that hangs out around my house. It reaches over the dilapidated garden fence and has eaten all of my blueberries. All that I got out of this year’s crop has been two little individual berries. It’s okay. I can buy them in the store.