Deer in the Compound!

By , August 28, 2018

Sunday morning, as Michelle prepared for work, she uttered a sentence not heard on this homestead in the 12 years we’ve lived here:

“There are deer in the yard.”

Sure enough, a doe and a fawn just past the spotted coat phase stood by the rhubarb patch, peering up into the windows of the cabin.

They clearly tracked movement through the window, so we couldn’t get “the good camera.” Michelle stealthily reached for her smart phone, and took the photos seen here, while both of us cursed ourselves for not getting around to washing the windows.

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The doe in the yard (Photo: Michelle L. Zeiger).

Soon, though, they sauntered toward the garden, our cue to rush out and chase them off. They disappeared up the ridge, bounding beautifully up the slope and away.

What a thrill!

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Fawn on left, doe on right (Photo: Michelle L. Zeiger).

In the past, I’ve noted the irony that we see somewhat less wildlife here on our forest homestead than some communities see on the streets (see Bears in the City). My sister lives in Aberdeen, Washington (a block or so from the house where Michelle lived from middle school through high school, incidentally). She often calls to visit on Fridays, when she walks her dog on her day off. Our conversations are commonly interrupted several times each call by deer sauntering through the neighborhoods in which she walks.

Not so here. As I’ve pointed out before, deer don’t “officially” live in our area. Nevertheless, we’ve seen prints and other sign all around us for years. In the last year or so, we’ve seen shadowy deer along the trail in the woods, and Aly had a face-to-face encounter, probably with these same two deer, earlier in the month (see Wild Life).

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A third, shaky photo (Photo: Michelle L. Zeiger).

So, we felt conflicted as we chased these deer off the property. Not that they need our garden at all—they looked extremely healthy, even somewhat larger than most of the Sitka black-tailed deer in Southeast Alaska, many of which are barely larger than dogs. They may have the peninsula to themselves at the moment, at least as far as deer go. And they’re obviously making the most of it.

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