Dear Oh Deer!

Enjoy other GRIT readers’ stories of lone deer, stolen crops, giant mushrooms, and more anecdotes from life in the country.

| March/April 2019

two-lone-deer
Ken Smith watched as two fawns in his neighborhood learned how to survive without their mother around. Photo by Getty Images/iStockphoto.

Dear Oh Deer!

Last spring, a doe that’d been hanging around our farm had twin fawns. I recognized her from the year before. Most people don’t believe that deer look different enough to tell them apart, but it’s easy once you get to know them.

The doe and her babies were out in the pasture near my house every evening. One morning, as I was going to town, I saw the mother doe lying on the side of the road; she had been hit by a vehicle. I felt bad, especially for the fawns, which I was sure weren’t old enough to survive on their own. However, the next day, I saw them out in the pasture as usual, nibbling at the grass, and I started thinking they just might make it.

As the summer went on, the fawns continued to grow and were inseparable. When I fed the wild turkeys in my area, the orphaned deer picked off the extra corn left behind. When the other deer began to move on, I was hoping that my orphans would head out and follow the rest, but they didn’t.



Winter came on hard, so I haven’t seen the turkeys or put out any corn for them, but that hasn’t stopped the fawns from coming up to the house to check for leftovers; they dig in the snow looking for any forgotten corn kernels. Now I think these young deer will never follow the rest of their kind, as they haven’t had a mother to show them how. After catching them nibbling on some leaves off my lilac bush, I went out and bought them a couple pounds of corn.

I’m in a quandary: I don’t want them to stay here all winter, but at the same time, if I don’t feed them, they may not survive without their mother to teach them how to be deer. I hope they’ll eventually move on and catch up with the other deer, but I’m beginning to think I’ll be feeding them all winter. I guess that’s the consequence of being a big softie.





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