Whitetail Antics… Daisy Deer on the Run!

The little button bucks are regular visitors at the water and feeding area.

I felt a bit of nostalgia last week. It was the night I observed Daisy deer bedded down with a four-point buck in our south pasture.  Somehow, in that moment, all of the world just seemed right.  These were two young deer possibly experiencing their first rutting adventure.  At least for Daisy, I was certain, it was her first mating season.  Only a year ago, she was just a young fawn, penned up with Holly, an injured deer who had been hit by a pickup truck.  We waited to free them until after hunting season ended on January 15th of this year.  For different reasons (Daisy being too young, Holly being too injured), both of them had missed out on last year’s rutting season.

As I observed Daisy more closely this fall, I began wondering if her mating season could be anything compared to my days as a young girl, experiencing love for the first time.  Of course, us girls do tend to think along the lines of romance and love.  But I wasn’t so sure deer had those inclinations at all… In fact, I was pretty sure this was a silly thought.  Still, the two little silhouettes in the pasture looked very cute, like an illustration one might expect to find on the cover of a paperback, Harlequin romance novel. And this young buck, after all, was “tending” Daisy.  Surely, I thought, he had a few gentleman-like qualities to offer my girl?

The smaller button buck is startled by something up top of the slope!
Something atop the slope causes the two button bucks to “high-tail” it and run!

The next morning, I looked out to the pasture, but there was no sign of Daisy and her beau. I let the dogs out to do their morning business, and walked around a bit, checking Daisy’s usual haunts, but saw nothing of her or the young buck.  Once in the house, I made a cup of coffee and sat at the computer to begin writing the post, “My Quest to Understand the Whitetail Deer Rut… A Deer Mother’s Journey“.  I wanted to gain a greater understanding of the rut in order to better inform my readers about some of the Whitetail deer’s tendencies and habits during the mating season.  As I composed my newest blog entry, I was excited to post photos and tell everyone about the activity I had witnessed the day before.

I was making my second cup of coffee and nibbling on some leftover cornbread when I looked out the back door and saw the two little button bucks that I have mentioned before. They were both eating deer chow and corn at the feeders below the slope.  We often see Daisy with these two fawns during the evening hours and, I am quite sure, one of them is the little fellow Daisy baby sat so many times this summer.  It always warmed my heart to see this and know that Daisy was finally fitting in with a small herd.

Doe Scarlet, a very dominant doe with twins, often hoofed at Daisy, but did allow Daisy to be with her fawns.  Another doe that sometimes accompanied Scarlet, had a single fawn and was usually friendly with Daisy as well.  Over the summer and early fall, this was Daisy’s little tribe.  Daisy had found a place in the hierarchy of this small “herd”.  She was good with all three fawns, though occasionally she lifted a hoof to ward them away from the feed dish.  And the young ones always complied.  After all, Daisy was a little bigger than they were!

Daisy arrives on the scene and the button bucks relax and return to the feeding area.

After seeing the two button bucks at the feeding station, I stepped out on the back porch with the camera, zoom lens attached.  Now being accustomed to our coming and going in the back yard, the two little bucks did not run off.   I stayed on the porch, tucked into a corner, and sheltered myself from the cold, biting breeze that was blowing out of the north. I had only snapped a couple of photographs when I saw both of the button bucks startle, high-tail it off a little way, and stop to look back my direction. Then, they seemed to relax and slowly meandered back to the feeding area.

Though one young buck fawn went about eating again, the other cautiously stomped towards something that had caught his attention up top, to the right of me.  I did not see anything at first, but then suddenly noticed Daisy just around the other side of the fence. She had approached so quietly that I had not heard her.  Daisy stared down at her little buddies with a definite aggressive look about her.  Ears back and standing tall at the top of the slope, she looked a little intimidating.  The little buck continued to stomp towards her cautiously.  But Daisy appeared to be in a foul mood and did not even seem to notice me.  I found this very strange.

Daisy’s beau arrives on the scene, with a keen eye on his girl!
Daisy’s beau shows aggression towards one of the little button bucks.
Daisy’s beau means business in running off the button buck!

Daisy finally proceeded down the hill at a slow pace, and as she reached the feeders, the two little button bucks backed off a bit.  One chose to feed at the more distant feeder, but the other, smaller one, stayed near Daisy, which was normal.  About that time, my attention was interrupted by a series of deep, low grunts one might expect to hear from a hungry, old boar pig.  Looking toward the sound coming from my right at the top of the slope, I spotted the young four-point buck – Daisy’s suitor.

For a brief moment, the rutting buck stood regally at the crest of the slope, appraising the situation below.  After seeing Daisy, it didn’t take him long to saunter down the hill, still grunting.  As he walked, I noticed he carried his head down a bit, level with his body.  And, it was apparent as he reached the group, he was in no mood to share his girl with either of the button bucks.

Daisy had begun eating alone at the corn feeder.  The larger button buck had backed off a bit, but the smaller one seemed interested in Daisy’s beau.  He tried, unsuccessfully, to sniff the big buck.  Head down and charging a bit, the four-point chased the youngster off. Curiosity getting the best of him, the button buck came back again, but this time the big boy had no patience and took off after the little guy, antlers down!

Daisy is normally friendly to these two little bucks, but today she’s irritated and, with ears back and swift hoofing action, she wards off the fawn.
Ears back, and with a mean look, Daisy is intent on sending her little buddy on his way!
The little fawn stands his ground but Daisy means to send him off into the woods!
Daisy takes off, chasing the little button buck back into the woods.

About that time, I noticed Daisy getting irritated with the other button buck.  Twice I observed her hoof at the little guy, and not in a gentle way like she usually did.  This time, Daisy meant business!  Finally, she took off after the little fellow and chased him a little ways into the woods.  I watched her turn back when she felt she had sufficiently run him off.

The 4-point buck watches from a short distance, waiting for Daisy to finish feeding.

Daisy then went back to the feeder, as her beau watched from a short distance. Occasionally, he checked the surrounding area to make sure the little button bucks had not come back.  He looked all around, but most of the time his eyes were focused on Daisy.  He waited…. and waited… AND WAITED.  Daisy seemed to be loitering at the feeder much longer than usual.  Even I was tired, standing at my perch on the porch, but I was not about to leave.  I was hopeful for more interesting photos.

Daisy’s beau didn’t stay down for more than a minute. Always on the alert, he kept watch. I couldn’t help but feel he was some kind of love struck; tirelessly following her every move.

Finally, the four-point made an attempt to move closer to the object of his desire.  He moved slowly at first, but Daisy was no fool.  She pretended not to see him.  She continued to feed at the bucket, but was secretly watching him.  Soon, he got a little too close for her comfort, and she darted to the left. He countered the move like a fine cutting horse, so she circled around quickly and headed to the right… he did too! The next trip to the left, Daisy picked up pace and so did the buck.  For just a minute, I could no longer see where Daisy was, but I could still see the buck was watching her.  Soon, I saw Daisy heading up the hill to the left, to a sitting bench we have up top that looks out over the canyon.  The buck was still down below, looking as if he was trying to decide whether to come up top or not.  And that is when he spotted me.  I had stepped to another area of the porch to get a better look at Daisy and he spotted my movement.  At this, he took off running to the south where I eventually lost sight of him.

Always on watch…
Keeping vigil, protecting his doe.

By this point, Daisy was exhausted.  She quickly found a place to bed down behind our swimming pool, near the privacy fence.  It is a protected area that she often found shelter in on windy, summer days, offering nice shade where the wind and sun is broken by the fence. Here, I offered her an apple – which she ate.  But mostly, she was exhausted.  She spent the entire afternoon resting, moving only once to find new shade as the sun ventured across the afternoon sky.  I felt good knowing my girl was safe.  She knew the area where the “deer people” lived was safe for her.  It had always been a place of safety and shelter.

Daisy’s Beau is growing weary of waiting… Daisy attempts to escape!
Daisy’s beau isn’t about to let her escape. He keeps her in the feeding area.
Daisy runs to the north, but this maneuver means jumping fences, heading onto the neighbor’s property with steeper slopes and difficult terrain.
Daisy changes direction, heading for a distant slope that leads her up top to safety with the “deer people”.

Finally that evening, Daisy got up and went down below to feed and get a little water.  I went down with her to pet and brush her, and checked under her tail.  Now, her vaginal area was only slightly swelled. I had seen it much more swelled the days before.  Why was that buck still following her, I wondered?  I petted her for a bit, and then went up to the house to fetch an apple.  But when I came back outside, she had disappeared.  I had not seen the buck all day, but that was no assurance he was not nearby, watching…

A very tired Daisy finds quiet and respite behind the pool, next to the fence where her beau wouldn’t be willing to seek her… at least during daylight!

Daisy was gone for the next two days.  I had a feeling that buck was not finished chasing her, and my suspicions were confirmed when, a couple of days later, our next-door neighbor reported Daisy had spent the night in his backyard.  The neighbor had spotted her the evening before, and realized the next morning she was still there.  He was quite pleased that she had even let him pet her during her visit.  A neighbor lady further down the road was elated to see Daisy in her backyard late one afternoon.  Daisy was receptive to her.  She also managed some funny photos of the four-point buck peering up from the slope at the edge of their backyard, still keeping an eye on his girl.

I suppose I am a bit delighted that Daisy seems to know that in some way, the “deer people”, at least in this neck of the woods, can offer her safety and refuge.  She is familiar with the territory she roams, and I have known her to find comfort in the area she grew up in on the outskirts of town.  She has often sought shelter in FD’s mother’s back yard, resting in the ivy around her house, hidden in the trees, watching traffic and people walking on the street nearby.  She has found respite and shade in the woods along the alley road and at the neighbors along the distant pecan orchard.  She has often bedded down at night near the blackberry bushes, watching the street, our property, and the woods, all under the twinkling stars.  After all, as a little fawn, her deer pen looked out towards the distant street, over the pastures, our house, and to the woods beyond.  Daisy does not trust all people, but she seems familiar with our immediate neighbors and the general activity in the area.  I worried all of these days she had been missing, that perhaps that buck had chased her miles from here, to unfamiliar territory.  When, all this time, she was just next door and a little way past the pecan orchard to the north.

I needed not to worry so much.  Daisy has shown me a great deal about her capability of surviving on her own in the wild. On her own, she found a way to fit in with a little herd. And now, she has managed to tap into the safety the “deer people” have to offer to gain respite and quiet. What a clever, adaptable girl she has become!  Perhaps she will teach these strengths to her little fawns in the years to come.

Our neighbor down the road, the “Pecan Orchard Lady”, took this photo, introducing herself to Daisy.
The 4 point buck, peeking from below the slope, watching Daisy with the Pecan Orchard Lady. Our neighbor captured this photo of the buck looking on, while she visited with Daisy.

© Day by Day the Farm Girl Way…


32 thoughts on “Whitetail Antics… Daisy Deer on the Run!

    1. Ha ha ha!! Don, I think the addition of coffee won’t change your way of thinking or commenting! I love that about you… you say it how it pops into your head! I’m headed up your direction today for a little shopping and not for the holidays, mind you. This is a ME day, which I rarely do!!

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      1. Whoooie, shop till you drop, take no prisoners! You should have emailed me we (the bride and I) could have hooked up with you somewhere for a cup of Joe and a hello.

        Don

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  1. You have written a wonderful, captivating story, littlesundog. To show my deer knowledge, I had to look up “button buck” just to be sure, but I had figured it out correctly through context. I admire your ability to take such a simple situation and turn it into an interesting story and I also admire your knowledge of animal behavior (I’ve already acknowledged your photography skills). The only thing I am still battling is the name Daisy. Where I used to live was not just thickly wooded, but the brush growth on the ground made it nearly impossible to walk in the woods during the summer – our answer? We bought a couple of brush goats, nothing fancy like Nubians, just brush goats. Starting with a sweet doe and an ugly, aggravating, STINKING buck and it was not long before our two became a herd. One of the offspring was an odd looking doe that we named Daisy. She had a sweet disposition but I often thought she was the offspring of Petunia (the beautiful doe) and my old hound dog Amos – yes, dear Daisy was shaped more like a dog than a goat. Thanks for posting this!

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    1. Thank you Louis. I named our little fawn orphan, Daisy, because I was dead-heading a patch of daisy’s when I spotted her. I had also previously named a pair of orphaned collared doves, Daisy and Doc, so I get teased about having a liking for the name, but truly it’s just coincidence. When I call Daisy, I often say, Daisy Dew just for fun. Call me proud but she’s just a beauty, deserving of the name!

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  2. I forgot to mention that within a year the woods looked like a park with no undergrowth. Those goats had done their job and then I ended up having to buy feed because they were my friends and I couldn’t just get rid of them after doing such a fine job.

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    1. I hope so Mike! The gestational period is 7 months, but I understand during the winter months the baby does not grow much since the mother must put her energy into self-survival during the harsh, winter months. The months of February through May the doe will put more energy to the fawn. The first is a singlet, but following years produce twins, and sometimes triplets… and even quads! I’ll be happy with one, thank you!

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  3. Lori, you really should write a book about Daisy’s life! As I was reading this post I realized I’d love to curl up in front of the fire with this story in book form. You’ve got a unique perspective on a deer’s life and you tell the story so well. Thanks for sharing the adventure with all of us.

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      1. Oh thank you Kim and Lynda! I get a little overwhelmed thinking about a book. I talk myself out of it because of the work and time involved. I enjoy my life so much as it is… living on this place, spending time with writing and photography, gardening, putting up vegetables and fruits for winter enjoyment, spending time with a couple of close friends, and enjoying a good life with FD. A book would be great… but there is so much more to it than writing the story. Plus… I don’t mention it much but I spend a lot of time frolicking through the woods with Daisy. I’m not all about work. I fear I spend a LOT of time playing with my girl and observing her wild friends!

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    1. Hmm, another book comment… perhaps as you suggest, it could be educational, a teaching tool, AND an interesting story. You crack me up… “Oh, deer. Dating.” LOL Yes, a concern for every parent. Now I’ll have double the worries!

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    1. I know!! The neighbor made the comment “lovesick” and “he’s got it BAD for her”, making me laugh! I thought that was a funny photo. He truly did keep an eye on his girl at all times. Daisy wasn’t quite so happy about it!

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  4. It sounds corny but I love being in love with my best friend, my soulmate, and my wife of 40 years come January 20. I think the marriage will work, LOL!

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    1. I am happy to have you stop by! Daisy is an amazing girl. She’s changed my life with her gentle ways and “messages” over the past year and a half. I hope we see her around for many years… she has quite a group of fans here on WordPress!

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  5. Girl, you know how to tell a story. It’s as easy as breathing. Great pictures too. Can’t wait for the book to come out, and then the movie. And then, the Academy Oscars. Most important, copy right it for your protection. I am very proud to have you and F.D. as friends.

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    1. Oh, thank you so much Rog! I think we’re the lucky ones to have YOU as a friend. Thank you so much for help with photography tips and ideas… and for knowing my heart. You are a dear, DEER friend indeed!

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  6. Hi, L.Sundog,

    It’s been a while but every time I read about Daisy and her exploits, I also think about a “Daisy book.” Daisy stories in short story form would make a great children’s book. I enjoyed reading this back in February and have just derived that enjoyment again.

    Sorry to be so scarce here lately but that means that I am feeling well and getting work done around our 16 acres. I took a break today because I made myself sore all over and needed a day of rest. I hope that you and your family are doing well and staying happy.

    Peace,
    Louis

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    1. Louis, things are good here too, and I’m so glad you’re feeling better! It’s wonderful to get back to meaningful and productive work… keeps the body in good shape and give us time to “think”. I appreciate your words about a Daisy book. Part of me just gets overwhelmed thinking about the work involved in publishing and selling a book. I guess I have the thought that if it’s supposed to be, then it will be. It’s so good to hear from you, and other readers, that you enjoy the stories about Daisy and her messages so much that it warrants a book! That does my heart good, my friend.

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  7. I totally enjoyed your visit to the shop not to many people are animal people as much into it as I am thanks for sharing your story its awesome to see and hear stories about animals …

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    1. Thank you so much Randall! I enjoyed the visit too. I admire your work with animals and the compassion and caring you put forth. We all have gifts, in this life. It is always wonderful to meet a kindred soul! I hope we get to visit again soon!

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