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View Diary: Being with deer in Nature (71 comments)

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  •  My 2 Toto Dogs Charged a Doe But Were Stunned (17+ / 0-)

    to find her charging them right back and clubbing them both with her hooves. My boys were screaming like animals clenched in traps. I had to charge the doe hollering and waving my arms to finally back her off lest she'd kill my 2 Totos.

    There hadn't beem time for her to seriously injure them but it took my wife and me half an hour to scrub their butt fur clean of their fear-shit.

    What none of us, even the Totos, realized in the moment, was that at the position where the Totos spotted the doe and started to charge, was that underneath the bush a few feet over lay two brand new fawns, barely bigger than our Totos.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Thu Jan 24, 2013 at 10:06:57 PM PST

    •  Thank You (7+ / 0-)

      I was going to issue a caution about getting TOO close to a deer. They aren't as placid as they look.

      Unless you know them well - and I'm speaking as a southern Ohioan whose had does take up permanent residence on her farm - keep your eyes on their body movements and they'll let you know when its time to turn around and walk away. When she snorts or stamps her foot - she's giving you fair warning.

      Most definitely keep your distance in the spring when their fawns are somewhere around. If you see a fawn all by itself DO NOT assume it's been abandoned or orphaned. It appears to be alone for a very good reason.

      As long as they have those spots on them fawns have no scent. This is to help protect them from predators. Mom, otoh, has plenty of scent. So mother does will leave their fawns alone for much of the time to keep from attracting any predators in the area. She's not as far off as you may think though and she's watching.

      One last tip if you want to see deer close up. Step One: Move to southern Ohio. Step Two: Plant garden. You'll see more deer than you can count!

      Meddle not in the affairs of dragons... for thou art crunchy and good with ketchup.

      by Pariah Dog on Fri Jan 25, 2013 at 10:26:41 AM PST

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      •  We just put a bowl of birdseed on the porch (5+ / 0-)

        A young mule deer doe walked up the back steps to get on the porch, along the west side of the house, and all the way across the front of the house to get to it.

        By the time I turned on the porch light, she had cleaned out the bowl, and we stood and stared at each other for about 5 minutes, separated by a pane of glass, but about 4 feet apart.

        As to garden - they cleaned that out this summer, everything from strawberry plants to hollyhocks. I don't know why - it's the first time that's happened, and there was plenty of other food around. But only one of them likes the clover we planted for them.

        Modern revolutions have succeeded because of solidarity, not force.

        by badger on Fri Jan 25, 2013 at 11:34:07 AM PST

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        •  please don't feed wildlife (0+ / 0-)

          thank  you.

          How big is your personal carbon footprint?

          by ban nock on Fri Jan 25, 2013 at 06:21:15 PM PST

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          •  There's no problem (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Pandoras Box

            with a little treat now and then, or when the weather is especially bad. The only trouble would be if you do it so often they start to depend on you.

            I've fed birds for years and naturally every other creature great and small around here knows it. That's why the feeders are so close to the house, but even that doesn't stop the freeloaders.

            Meddle not in the affairs of dragons... for thou art crunchy and good with ketchup.

            by Pariah Dog on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 04:55:55 AM PST

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          •  I feed the birds in winter (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            erratic

            but I agree with you.  It may be well intentioned, but it messes with things - and has repercussions you don't envision.  I found this out for myself - I put out food for a doe and twins one extremely harsh winter - in Vermont - that can be pretty harsh.  It was big mistake as I found.  By the end of the winter a couple dozen deer traversed daily through deep snow from  their deer yards at the promise of food.  It put them in danger, and harsh as it may sound, it doesn't help them to survive during the winter if they normally wouldn't.  More deer surviving, means more fawns, and a larger deer population.  The carrying capacity gets strained, and more deer will starve the next winter.  I meant to help my little family of deer, but I realized, I was messing with nature and it wasn't good for them.

        •  They're like kids, dogs and cats (0+ / 0-)

          They always want what they know they're not supposed to have.

          Or, depending on where you live, they might have known it was going to be a hard winter.

          Meddle not in the affairs of dragons... for thou art crunchy and good with ketchup.

          by Pariah Dog on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 05:15:24 AM PST

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      •  You're right (8+ / 0-)

        I live in Southern Ohio and no longer have a garden because of the deer. They won. Now I put a few tomatoes in the area around the house fenced for the dogs, and they have never bothered them. The garden was too big anyway. :)

        A few years ago in early autumn, a doe and her two fawns began showing up every evening to check if anything fell from the apple tree. The tree is inside the fenced area, but part of it hangs over the fence and apples fall out there. This doe was super tame. I used to sit just inside the garage doorway and watch her, and most evenings she would clean up the apples then come check me out.  She would approach to as close as three feet, lower her head a little and scrutinize me closely as I talked to her. It was amazing. Sometimes she would lie down for a rest only a dozen feet from where I sat.
         She was so beautiful and peaceful. Her fawns came fairly close, but were far more skittish than Mom.

        This lasted for a couple of months, then one of the fawns disappeared, then around Christmas Mom herself stopped coming. It was a real treat that she made the choice to allow me to know her a little bit, and I was sad when she was gone.

        •  I had one like that (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          kdub, kayak58, Quackerz, KenBee

          It was a while back and I'm pretty sure she's gone now, but she lived here for six or seven years. Always dropped twins every year and I swear she'd leave them close to the house for me to babysit. I've got some fantastic pictures of both her and her kids.

          I've never encouraged too much friendliness though because, as you know, hunting is huge down here. I don't want them to think hoomans are no threat.

          As for the garden, I always had a chain link fence for the bunnies and coons, but of course the deer laughed themselves silly over that. I went out and got some 8 ft. wooden poles and some of that black plastic netting. Attached the poles to the fence stakes and stapled the netting to them. I figured if they could jump that they'd earned whatever they wanted. I tie strips of cloth to the netting here and there. I know mine are on the hill watching this exercise, but I don't want the occasional drifter not realizing there's something there and getting tangled in it. It works like a charm and has the benefit of being cheap.

          So we're simpatico now. They can have all the apples they want 'cause I have lots, and I sell the pictures I take of them.

          Meddle not in the affairs of dragons... for thou art crunchy and good with ketchup.

          by Pariah Dog on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 05:11:24 AM PST

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          •  Good story (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            erratic, KenBee

            My garden was too much trouble and expensive to fence. I tried everything short of fencing though, and the last straw was when one of them somehow managed to step into an unused wire tomato cage and did a panic tour through the green beans etc. Pure carnage. I would rant and get mad when things would be destroyed, so I finally decided it just was not worth it and seeded some grass there. I enjoy them now.

        •  NW Oregon Deer Experience (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          erratic, Quackerz
          I live in Southern Ohio and no longer have a garden because of the deer. They won. Now I put a few tomatoes in the area around the house fenced for the dogs, and they have never bothered them. The garden was too big anyway.

          I've lived and gardened in rural NW Oregon since 1975. I, and now my wife of five years, depend on our veg. garden for a significant amount of our sustenance, and the peace that can come with gardening, so I ended up fencing our 40 X 60 (approx.) garden area, and also, because I love growing roses, the 20 X 20 rose garden.

          We have found that the deer in our area (black tails and the occasional Columbian white tail) don't seem to care for tomatoes, potatoes or squash plants, but the rest is on their menu at times.

          It's a simple fence, just chicken wire on metal posts that deer could easily push aside, but I put an electric fence wire around the bottom of the fencing and since deer tend to use their neck and head to push barriers aside, they get zapped and stay away.

          "We will find fulfillment not in the goods that we have, but in the good we can do for each other." ~ RFK

          by paz3 on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 10:36:23 AM PST

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          •  My deer loved tomatoes...even the vines (0+ / 0-)

            They trashed everything I grew except peppers and broccoli. Green beans and cukes and squash were a delicacy along with carrots and beets (they ate the tops down to the soil line.) One year I tried a tiny patch of beets in a flower bed and they stated eating them. I set a rat trap in the center of the beets and then carefully laid a piece of turkey wire (1/4" mesh) on top of it. Nothing could get to the trap and get hurt, yet any pressure on the turkey wire would spring the trap and throw the wire up into the deer's face. It must have been scary because it was only sprung a couple of times then left alone.

    •  I had the same experience with my beloved lab Lou (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      erratic

      and a doe - he inadvertently got too close to her newborn fawns, twins.  She came out of nowhere - edge of the woods really, and thundered after him, hot on his tail, with clear murderous intent.  He ran straight for me.  I turned tail and ran iinto my vegetable garden, Lou galloping in after me (tearing through my carrot bed) and I slammed the wooden gate shut - a second before the doe tried to tear in after us.  Lou meant no harm, but the doe had just given birth, as I later discovered.  She was scary as hell.  I calmly spoke to her, and tried to calm her down, and she moved off 30 paces, huffing, and watching us balefully.  Poor Lou.  I got him tied with my belt and led him back along a path to my house.  I carried a shovel for protection for us both, trying to show her I had him under control, and we meant no harm.  My knees were knocking.  Poor Lou was completely demoralized.  It was an amazing experience.  Later that fall, she and twins would come into my yard for windfall apples.  That winter was very tough, ice storm after ice storm, and they browsed under my bird feeders.  I started putting out some hay and grain for them - but that's another story, and let me say, not a good idea at all.  It messes with everything, and long story short, by the end of the winter, I had 20 deer in my yard.  The doe and her twins were regulars around my garden for years.  I always treasured seeing them.  I never encouraged them to come close, but the female twin would have come right up to me if I'd encouraged it.  The male twin was more standoffish - as well he should have been.  It's his picture that I use as my profile pic here.  He was outside my window, nibbling bird seed that had fallen from the feeders, looking in to see us nestled inside with books and tea.

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