Saturday, January 25, 2014

A motherless fawn

We first noticed her in September, a lone spotted fawn, no mama in sight. We might have seen her before, when she had a mama, but we wouldn't have noticed her among the pairs of does and fawns nibbling their ways through our yard.

She was two or three months old in September, small and young to survive without a family. Whitetail fawns nurse for 8-10 weeks. Had she been weaned before her mama died? How would she know about finding food? And where to hide from the coyotes that howl at night?  

Every morning as I looked out the kitchen window I wondered whether she'd be back or if the night before had been her last.

Perhaps she's the fawn born on our front lawn. She knows our place--the paths and bushes, where we scatter birdseed, the bird baths filled with water.

Her coat is full brown now.  She's still small, maybe will always be small; hardship takes a toll.  But she was born in a good year--it was an acorn-avalanche autumn, more food than all the neighborhood deer combined could eat.

The other morning  I saw her bedding in the buffalo grass near our house when the air was well below freezing.  I'm guessing she thought she was home.

Copyright 2009-2014 Kathleen Scott, for Hill Country Mysteries. Unauthorized reproduction is prohibited.


  1. What a sweetheart. I hope she stays safe. More cold weather to come.

  2. And here is precisely where I stumble across my conflicted responses to these creatures. Intellectually I realize the deer are abundant in our area and well suited to the various rigors and trials they face.

    Intellectually I know they lived here before I did and will live here long after I've died. I also know they eat my landscaping not out of any sense of malevolence, but rather because they see what I've planted as food. Nothing more nothing less.

    Emotionally? I alternately am angered when they devastate my planted areas and yet I am filled with protective impulses reading about your small motherless fawn. The deer and I? It's complicated.

  3. I call them my dear deer. We also had a small fawn join those that came to eat in front of the house. I named her Rabbit since she was little and fast to leave if she suspected danger. She is all grown up now and really beautiful..she looks different and is different from the others. Very early in her life she learned to be cautious..I guess that helped her survive. I don't mind her nibbling on my deer resistant plants.

  4. Glad to see her out of her spots. Every day is a gift.

  5. So glad to see her out of her spots. Every day is a gift.

  6. Hi Kathleen,
    I'm interested to see if we'll have any fawn(s) - but hopefully not motherless - around our place this year. With as many as sometimes 15 deer [plus a buck, which, to my understanding, is a necessary "ingredient" ;-) to have fawns] we should be able to see some, don't you think?
    Take care and have a good one,


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