If You Go Looking for Trouble, You Will Find It

Last night before bedtime, I made one last scan across the front yard and pasture with the flashlight, hoping to spot Emma and Ronnie deer, but there was no sign of them. I walked through the house to the back porch and shone my flashlight down in the canyon. All I found there was a lone raccoon at the feeder. I had seen both of the deer kids early in the morning, and I really had not thought much about them until late evening when they had not returned to bed down in one of their usual spots nearby. I suspected that they had ventured off and maybe tried to follow some wild deer, or perhaps that buck had returned for Emma. Obviously, I would have to wait until morning to investigate further.

When I took Bear and Mr. T out for bathroom duty first thing this morning, I spotted only one furry lump in my flashlight beam, bedded down near the garden. I suspected it was Ronnie. Poor Emma was probably being chased by that buck again. I got Bear’s medication and fed both dogs a snack, and then headed out to open the front gate. By then, the deer had gotten up and was doing a little self grooming. When I came back from the front gate I crossed the yard to see who it was for sure. I was surprised to find it was Emma. She seemed distracted, and she was trembling in her hind quarters. I did not see anything unusual but I hoped she was fine. It was a cold morning with temps just at freezing so maybe she was just cold. I really needed to get back in the house and get breakfast going. I would come out later and find her and perhaps we could go looking for Ronnie together.

After finishing up breakfast dishes, I put on my warmest clothes which happen to be my camouflage jacket and pants. Emma and Ronnie do not care for this outfit because it seems to confuse their vision. However, I had little choice, as I was not about to freeze while looking for Ronnie. When I stepped out into the daylight after donning my warm gear, I quickly noticed Emma had injuries. Her right, front leg had a cut on it and a small piece of meaty tissue hung out of the wound, and she was walking with a pronounced limp. She also had a couple of hoof marks at her neck and right side, indicating a wild doe from the local herd had likely tried to hoof at her and chase her away. I wondered if it had been Daisy deer? We had not seen Daisy in a long time, but we had noticed, via the game camera, that a few does had been visiting the feeder during the night. Slowly, Emma followed me to the canyon and we walked quietly together into the pecan orchard. I called for Ronnie by name, then made the “grunt” noise that a mother doe would call out to her missing fawn. Emma helped by keeping her nose to the ground, checking for Ronnie’s scent. We headed north towards the slough area, where Emma seemed to find scent. But after an hour of meandering around and finding nothing, Emma finally went to her knees and plopped down to rest. I noticed her leg was swelling more at the wound. Emma began to lick her wound while I proceeded on a short distance to the west, but soon Emma was limping along right behind me once again. At this point, I decided to head home where she could rest safely near food and water.

Bald patches where hair is missing indicates just how hard a hoof can strike! Rehabilitated fawns are hoofed and chased off by local does for months before they might be accepted into the local herd. Emma and Ronnie will be enduring this treatment until late summer likely.
Bald patches where hair is missing indicates just how hard a hoof can strike! Rehabilitated fawns are hoofed and chased off by local does for months before they might finally be accepted into the local herd. Emma and Ronnie will likely be enduring this treatment until late summer.
There is no telling how Emma wounded her leg. Wildlife is very resilient though. In a week it's likely we won't be able to detect anything amiss at all.
There is no telling how Emma wounded her leg. But wildlife is very resilient and, in a week or so, it’s likely we won’t be able to detect anything amiss at all.

As we crossed the fence to the canyon area in the woodlands, Emma found some grass to nibble while I talked with my sister, Jules, on the phone. I often found solace and comfort in visiting with my brother or one of my sisters or my mom when my heart was heavy with worry over Emma and Ronnie, or Daisy. All of a sudden, Emma became quite alert. Her ears were at full attention and her eyes were glued to a specific spot far off to the north in the willow patch at the corner of the orchard.  I looked off to the direction of her gaze and saw Ronnie! He was quite leery to proceed in our direction, I supposed, because I was wearing that camouflage outfit that confused him. I called out his name and used the “mama grunt” and finally he came running. He went right through the barbed wire fencing to get to Emma. It was apparent he missed his sister.

Back at the house, I had no more managed to make a cup of tea to warm myself, when I noticed Ronnie through the kitchen window, poking around in the neighbor’s back yard. This would be the neighbor with the three pit-mix dogs that constantly barked and growled. “What on earth was he doing over there?” I wondered. I rushed out with the camera knowing he would discover the dogs rather quickly… or maybe the dogs would discover him. Sure enough, I got one shot of Ronnie running back to the woods with his tail fanned out on high alert. For a brief moment, he panicked, not understanding how to cross the fence! But as the dogs’ barking increased, so did Ronnie’s desire to exit. I saw him bound down the hill but quickly realized he must have jumped the fence at some point, because the next thing I knew, he was panting next to Emma on top of the slope.

I saw Ronnie at the neighbor's through my kitchen window.
I saw Ronnie at the neighbor’s through my kitchen window.
Ronnie is curious about those dogs next door.
Ronnie is curious about those dogs next door.
At this point, Ronnie is truly in a "danger zone" with the neighbor's dogs. They'll spot him any second!!
At this point, Ronnie is truly in a “danger zone” with the neighbor’s dogs. They’ll spot him any second!!
Ronnie high-tailing it to the woods behind the neighbor's house.
Ronnie high-tailing it to the woods behind the neighbor’s house (see the white tail just behind the propane tank?).
Ronnie comes back up the hill, not sure how to cross back to our property where he can see Emma and me.
Ronnie comes back up the hill, not sure how to cross back to our property where he can see Emma and me.
Ronnie pants on top of our slope, glad to be back on our side of the fence!
Ronnie pants on top of our slope, glad to be back on our side of the fence!

I stood there a while, chiding Ronnie for taking such a risk, but I also knew this was the life of a deer. They would continue to be curious and to find danger. Emma and Ronnie both, would have many months ahead of them, being hoofed at and run off by the local does. Being accepted by the wild ones would be a hard-won, uphill battle. But Emma would someday be a mother and become a force to be reckoned with in protecting her young. And, in time, Ronnie would find comfort and companionship with other bucks, but he would also realize they were his foes during the rutting season. I understood that ultimately, survival continues only for the strong and resilient who manage to survive the rigors of life in the wild.

As I soaked up the warm sun while sitting with Emma and Ronnie on the slope this morning, I thought of my own life. I had been curious, rebellious, and headstrong many times. My parents often warned me of danger and trouble, and still I threw caution to the wind. I did get hurt at times, and suffered wounds and injury, but mostly I escaped by the skin of my teeth, and I knew how lucky I had been. So I learned. I made better choices. And I survived. This was Emma and Ronnie’s chance to go through the knocks of life too. And I know they will make their way, just as we all do…

Ronnie grooms Emma, He seems to understand she isn't feeling up to par today.
Ronnie grooms Emma, He seems to understand she isn’t feeling up to par today.
Emma enjoys attention from Ronnie.
Emma enjoys attention from Ronnie.
Emma catches scent in the breeze, while Ronnie, who is tuckered out from his adventure at the neighbor's backyard, lays down to rest and groom himself.
Emma catches scent in the breeze, while Ronnie, who is tuckered out from his adventure in the neighbor’s backyard, lays down to rest and groom himself.

© 2017 Day by Day the Farm Girl Way…


31 thoughts on “If You Go Looking for Trouble, You Will Find It

  1. What a day – living with wild creatures when you are not a wild creature but a cognitive human is so hard – they live totally in the present while we worry all the time about the future. Makes me want to stop. I want to stop thinking at all. c

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I know exactly what you’re saying. I try to think of the lesson or the message for me in these situations. I do remember living more in the present as a young girl. We need to get back to that… all of this worry, wonder and planning is so silly. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

    1. It feels like the old days with Daisy and Spirit. I can sit down with these two and I feel as if I am part of a little herd. It feels like the most natural thing in the world to bed down and simply do nothing… well, they self-groom. I haven’t felt the need to try that yet. 😀

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Lori, I read this with bated breath. I worry about these fawns too and I haven’t even seen them for real. But your photos and videos bring them to reality. I really like the last photo that shows them together. I adore your writing. It is really great nature writing and I hope that somehow with each post your are taking time to go back through it and do some editing of paring it down so that all of this will eventually be a book about rehabbing deer. I think it would sell very well. You might have to self publish but of course, I suppose you are not thinking much about that now. If you work on it a little at a time it would not be a huge chore. But maybe I am just not being realistic.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yvonne, you always make me feel so good. It means so much that you enjoy my writing. I do work on the book when time allows, but my real joy has been in putting together blog posts. It’s so spur of the moment and there isn’t any pressure. All I know is, I love to write. It is icing on the cake to hear that someone enjoys these stories. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You know, Lori the fact that you love to write about your wonderful subjects actually comes through in your writings. The words flow and dare I say that perhaps you just keep getting better as time passes.

        Like

        1. Thanks, Yvonne. I look back at my first writings and I can definitely see improvement. I think in the beginning there is so much of a learning curve with any new task and it makes it difficult to get it all smooth and flowing at the start. Not being a technical person, it was a real struggle for me to figure out how to set up the blog in the first place – widgets and headers – how to set up every aspect of the blog was difficult and frustrating! But over the years, the stories seem to have a better flow, and I do have two very good editors to look things over. 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

  3. I love the pictures of Ronnie grooming Emma, what a sweetheart of a brother!! You’ve done so well with those two, Sister! I’m so thankful they are growing and learning with their newfound freedom, yet they return to where they feel safe, at home. Beautiful post!!

    Like

  4. I don’t know if your insides are as matter of fact and calm as you seem in this writing, but I’m amazed at your realistic perspective on all of this. I can see that you are right and of course you have been through it before and know that you have to ‘let go’, but it can’t be easy. It is what we have to do with our human children too. Big hugs, Lori.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Not having the human experience of raising kids, I can’t help but think that must be even more difficult than my experience with wild animals. I do think these two were easier on me than letting go of Daisy was. But Daisy taught me much about trusting that her instinct and ability was strong, so it has made everything much easier this time. I find it interesting that you sense “matter-of-fact” in my writing, Ardys. You know me so well. I think sometimes it boils down to my own difficulties. Life is hard. I look at situations and realize sometimes things do not work out like I want or hope. There is little to do about it. And there is a gift in every experience. I have to think that Universe has a lesson or understanding for me in every thing that happens. I am very happy that Emma and Ronnie have come this far. Being wild and free, if even for just one day, has got to be way better than being trapped in a pen all of life. Even we humans (well maybe not all) understand the desire to be free.

      Like

  5. Lori, I’ve said it before, that I love what you do, but seriously doubt that I could do it myself. I would become inextricably attached. Any losses or danger would have me near to a nervous breakdown. You are made of sterner stuff than I.

    Glad they are OK and still acclimating to the wild.

    Like

    1. Lynda, I could not do what you do. All of those geese and birds would be my pets! And God help me if I ever had to sew any of my own clothing – I can barely manage mending! Ha ha. I think we all take on experiences that help us grow. Daisy deer was such a teacher. She helped me get through a lot of my own problems. She paved the way for us to help other deer. FD and I will do this again in years to come. But, we will have to work on a different plan being so close to town and having so many issues with the neighbor and his dogs. We learned a lot from Emma and Ronnie, and I am sure that will go on for however long they stick around! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I just recently found your blog and love your stories! A few insights… Is it possible Emma could of gotten injured on the barbed wire fence you mentioned in the post? I have seen deer do serious damage to themselves on fences. From my studies, ususally all it takes to scare off unknown deer from a group, is a quick laying back of the ears and puffing out the hair. Works every time in letting lesser deer know who the boss is! Violent hoofing is usually limited to 2 matriarch does doing battle within their own territories. Kind of interesting to watch them duke it out one minute, and the next minute bed down near each other. Young deer (especially those that lost their mothers) seem to be accepted into new groups without a lot of resistance. Of course, deer have complex psychologies, so how one might react can be different from how another will. Interesting none-the-less.

    Like

    1. Thank you, Mark. It is very possible the barbed wire fence was the culprit, and there are numerous farm implements hidden in the grasses of the pecan orchard that need to be moved. I’m quite sure they are the reason some of the spring fawns end up with grave injuries. In raising Daisy deer, an orphaned fawn we raised five years ago, we noted it took months for her to manage her way into a small herd of local does. She came back with hoof marks and patches of missing hair for many months after we turned her free. In time – a couple of years maybe, Daisy established herself and became the matriarch of the local does. I know of another woman who raised a doe who had a similar experience. It will be interesting to see how things go with both Ronnie and Emma. They are neither one anything like Daisy deer was in personality. It’ll be a whole new adventure! Isn’t it a lovely thing to be able to observe these creatures and photograph them? Observing nature is such a gift. 🙂

      Like

  7. Hi Lori, I have enjoyed viewing the posts about Emma and Ronnie now they are free to come and go. They still enjoy each other’s company and feel safe when they are together. I am wondering at what stage Ronnie, as a buck, is likely to separate from Emma and strike out independently?

    Like

    1. Well, Margaret, I believe yesterday Ronnie took off. We have not seen him in more than twenty-four hours and Emma has been calling for him and roaming around nose to the ground searching for him. I have been reading up on this, and though as a fawn it’s a bit early for him to be on his own, it could be entirely normal since he did not have a mother to speak of. I will try to post about the latest happenings this week. There is much to report and more photos and video.

      Like

  8. Ronnie is such a handsome buck! Can’t wait to see him next year with antlers! Emma is looking so healthy too, injuries aside, you’re such a great deer mother. Missing you all bunches!

    Ps. I lost all my phone contacts so I don’t have your number anymore 😦 call me or shoot me a quick text please!

    Like

    1. Thanks, Dom. The kids are so much fun at this age.
      I texted you last week and thought it was odd that you didn’t get right back. I’ll try again and if texting doesn’t work I’ll call. I miss you too… I hope things are going well in your neck of the woods!

      Like

Comments are closed.