About three years ago, we had a really hard winter, with about four feet of snow, that lasted and lasted, which caused a great hardship on the local deer. We'd see them in the evening just as it got dark. Two or three at a time would come and eat the leaves off the Laurel hedge. As the snow got deeper, they had more trouble getting around and both hubby and myself got really concerned for a couple of the younger ones. The fawns from the summer before couldn't even get through the snow without it being broken first.
One evening, we talked and then we phoned a good friend of ours, the local game warden. We asked if there was any way we could feed the deer, and if so, what should we feed them. He hummed and hawed for a few minutes, but then he told us we could, as long as we didn't intend to bait them for hunting later. That's illegal here and we'd never dream of doing it. Hubby and I were overjoyed that he'd given us permission, and he'd told us what to feed them. This first picture is of a doe who we feel we saved that first year.
Of course when the fawns showed up in the spring, we couldn't stop feeding them. The reason, well the does needed all the nourishment they could get to fatten themselves and their babes up for the coming winter. Yeah, yeah, I know, it's nature and natural selection is a necessity. I agree with you, up to a point. We've taken so much of their habitat, it's getting difficult for them to find a place of their own, so they come into the human populated areas, and starve. Okay, so I'm going to play momma nature and help as much as I can.
These two, they came that fall. They'd lost their mother at some point over the summer but had managed to do pretty well for themselves. When they found us, they were a lot slimmer and had much less hair. Aren't they adorable. They're just getting their winter coats, so look a lil on the shaggy side.
That winter was another tough one. We lost three fawns that year, two died in the yard, one right outside our front door. It was heartbreaking, but there's only so much we can do. I tell myself that, and it doesn't help one bit. It's amazing to sit and watch them though, and the memories of how silly these little guys were sometimes is something I'll never forget.
Well, the one who survived did really well the following summer. He came to visit nearly every day. I can't count the times I'd be out working in the garden and I'd get this weird feeling I was being watched. When I turned around and see who was there, he'd be ten feet away.
Course, he was pretty fond of the groceries and didn't like to miss a meal. This is when he got his nickname, Spiker. He's in velvet here, so it's fall again and the weather is getting cooler. Time to fatten up and he did that as often as I'd feed him.
Another tough winter, not so much snow as horrendous rains. We got cold here, had a couple of frozen rain experiences that I'd gladly have missed, and the animals suffered again. We lost three fawns that year, and it was difficult watching them all just try to live through it. Our food bill got pretty healthy too.
Oh, and that year, we had a new batch of animals show up. Bandits their called and with good reason. They're the cutes lil guys going though and of course, seeing as we have a cat, and I know bandits like cat food, well, you can guess the rest. Could you say no?
She came all winter, putting the run on the big bucks when they tried to chase her off. She vanished in the summer, but has come back and brought her family. And oh, what a family she has.Talk about better than television.
Are these guys cute or what? They usually come in the evening, but if they miss a visit, they'll show up during the day. This was early one morning. She has one more, but he's a bashful little guy and likes to hide under the deck, catching all the bits that fall through the cracks. LOL
There's nothing funnier than to see one, or more, furry lil bandits trying to sit in their food dish.
Let's get back to my Spiker. He's still around, and still doing well. He's now one of the big boys and puts the run on pretty much everyone. He's got one bud, another buck about the same age who turned up last winter. Over the years, Spiker and I have grown pretty close. He visits more often then most of the others, sometimes just to say hi, other times for a bite to eat. Just recently, he's decided he likes his head rubbed. Yeah, I know, dumb move. But, there was no way on this Earth I was going to back away from a chance like this.