Tuesday, July 13, 2010


While doing a bit of exploring the other day, I heard a slight rustle in the shrubbery and out stepped this gorgeous young White-tailed Deer fawn. I froze, and she eyed me curiously, no doubt wondering who the big galoot was. The little deerlet didn't act very afraid, though, and often these little ones don't yet have a well-developed fear of man.

On a few occasions I have had very young white-tails run right up to me in the woods - literally to within a foot. The only thing that I could figure is that I was temporarily mistaken for mom. They quickly realized their error, and dashed back into cover.

I am guessing the unit above is perhaps 4-6 weeks old. It was still tiny and heavily bespeckled but beyond the stage where mom stashes them in thick vegetation for hours on end while she goes off to browse. That speckling makes for great disruptive patterning, really helping the fawn to blend with a forest understory irregularly lit by dappled sunlight.

I figured the doe was close at hand, and sure enough, I soon saw her peeking from the foliage. Some unheard command from her to Jr. was soon issued, and off they dashed into the woods.



OpposableChums said...

Several years ago, I came across a fawn sitting in some tall weeds, "stashed in thick vegetation" while Mom was off somewhere. As you point out, the youngsters often don't realize that we're to be fled from. Knowing this, I stifled my fear of Lyme Disease (as well as my wary disinclination to habitualize a young animal to human approach), and crept forward, ultimately petting its head for a few seconds.

Unwise, perhaps, but very cool.

Steve Willson said...

Holding out a white handkerchief often gets the fawns to come up close. I once had twins become so attached to me I didn’t think I’d be able to leave the woods without them. When the doe stepped into the trail, I thought I might be in for trouble, but I finally shooed the twins away and they ran off with Mom.