Brush with Bambi

Early yesterday evening while we were sitting on the steps of the Willow School looking out over the Wet Mountains, Mitch spied a small deer. Tiny with black eyes as big as river rocks, the baby was nosing around the barbed wire of the ranch across the road. Uncharacteristically, the fawn wasn't disturbed by our presence but seemed interested.

We watched her for a while; we thought it odd that there were no other deer nearby, particularly no mama deer. Mitch got up and crossed the road, and instead of running to avoid his approach, the fawn came closer to the fence. Too small to jump and intimidated by the barbs, the deer appeared trapped. Mitch pulled the strands of wire apart and remarkably, with a little coaxing, the fawn stepped through.

I joined Mitch and his new friend; the fawn followed us as we walked like a puppy. She was all eyes and ears and spindly legs. At one point, she put her face up to my leg and licked me with a pick tongue, tasting for salt. As charmed as we were, Mitch and I knew that this deer's fondness for people was not in its best interest. Neither of us had a cell phone or camera with us. We started walking back to our house, hoping the deer would follow, whereupon we would call the sheriff and local wildlife officer for assistance.

The deer continued to follow us, occasionally putting her nose to the air or pricking her ears at the whinnying of a horse. Before long we spied a large pick-up truck turning on Willow Lane. Mitch and I flagged it down, hoping the driver had a cell phone. The truck was filled with men, looking tired from a day's work. The driver had a ruddy moon face and was wearing a cowboy hat. I pointed at the deer and asked about a cell phone.

The driver had a mouthful of chew, which enhanced his drawl. "She stays up a' that ranch."

"She lives there?" I asked.

"She stays there."

Mitch and I looked at each other relieved that the neighbors seemed aware of our little friend's plight.

"There aren't any other deer."

"She's just an orphan. Gets all excited when she sees people. We'll run'er back."

The driver pulled away slowly and gently guided the fawn back to her adopted home.

Comments (1) -

July 21. 2009 11:24

threadingwater

goshdarnit, you could have had a new pet.  The cats would have adored the new addition to the household.  I already envisioned Mitch building a pen in the backyard, charging the neighbor kids a buck to visit.  It was all so, "The Yearling"-esque.
Of course, that book didn't end too well for the deer.

threadingwater |

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