The first reports of our four rehabilitated, orphaned fawns venturing into the residential area east of our property, came from neighbors across the street. Neighbors just north of us reported seeing them in their front and back yards, as was the case with both Daisy and Tukker deer when they were venturing out and exploring their newfound territory outside the deer pen. Fortunately, these four girls were just within a block or two and we got them to follow us home quite easily. But over the next weeks, the girls got several blocks away from our property, one time nearing a busy highway that runs through town. I wrote about some of these adventures in Meeting the Neighbors.
These adventures into the neighborhood became more frequent, and further from home. One afternoon a police officer came to get Forrest to help them with “a few escapees”. By the time they got to the scene where the deer had been reported, a dog had scared and chased the girls back in the direction of the woodlands. Eventually, they returned via the pecan orchard. Thankfully, our neighbors and the police department have been helpful in keeping the deer safe.
The girls became local celebrities when a photo of them made the front page of the local newspaper. All four were strolling along and grazing in the city park that is just across a busy county road along the north border of the pecan orchard property. This is another area Daisy used to frequent when she was a young deer. Thankfully, the park had gotten little human traffic since the beginning of the Covid shutdown. Regardless, I was not comfortable with them venturing further and further off of our property.
Two weeks ago, while I was visiting family in Nebraska, I got a call from a woman who had seen two deer in an empty, grown-up lot next to the local Pizza Hut, which is along the busy highway that goes through town. I called back to Forrest in Oklahoma, and he and our family here searched but could not find them. Later, they got a report that two deer were seen near the high school, several blocks from the Pizza Hut and south of our property. For six days, Scout and Ruthie were out on that adventure – wherever it led them. Just before I returned to Oklahoma, Forrest reported the girls had returned home joining up with Penelope and Gracie. Since that time, all of the girls have stayed close to home.
There are reasons, I suspect, why the girls seem to be finding comfort in staying closer to home recently. Fawn birthing has just begun. The local does will have hoofed off any deer, including their own fawns from last year, to prepare and protect their birthing areas for this year’s fawns. They may have driven our girls out of the orchard and west end of the property. We have also noticed that Scout and Ruthie are both pregnant. They too will find birthing areas for their babies, possibly here on our property where they grew up, or at one of our neighbor’s woolly back yards just north of here. We cannot tell if Gracie is expecting yet or not. She never roams far from home. She’s always been more attached to Forrest and is rarely far from him. Penelope is not expecting. She is quite independent, but she likes to be wherever her sisters are.
Yesterday as I was driving home from a neighboring city to the east, I noticed a yearling deer scampering into a vacant lot on the outskirts of town. Somehow, that gave me a little comfort knowing that many deer are curious, and perhaps are quite comfortable in a city setting. I can only hope that people will be kind and proactive in protecting wildlife that visits their neighborhood or property.
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