Friday, September 19, 2008

Close Encounter of the Deer Kind

Today while Gabe napped I did some weeding out back. I had my back turned to the woods, and I was thinking to myself “wouldn’t it be wacky if the deer snuck up behind me right now?” I wondered if such an encounter would be a bubbly Disney moment, or something more like a creepy horror movie. Attack of the Killer Deer! And I’m not making this up: moments later there was a noise of something bashing its way through the leaves, and our resident fawn walked out of the woods thirty feet away from me.

His mother wasn’t with him this time, from what I could tell. But it is about time he left her, anyway; he is as big as her, and his spots are almost gone. I think he is in his rebellious teenager stage.

So, our rebellious Bambi looked long and hard at me – and walked closer, one hesitant step at a time. He got as far as the swing, which was about twenty feet from me. I crouched down to look less scary, and turned my head to the side so that I would look less like a predator. The only thing between us was my bucket of weeds. Bambi watched me, and nibbled the grass, and watched me some more.

I thought of chasing him off, to teach him to be properly fearful of humans. After all, I have seen both a deer hunting perch and a bow hunter both within a few miles. But. . . I’m greedy. I had this amazing encounter all to myself! I didn’t want to give that up. So I went back to pulling weeds, all the while peeking at the skittish yearling who couldn’t seem to quite make up his mind if I was safe enough to graze near.

After a few minutes, Gabe’s cry came over the baby monitor, and I shot to my feet out of habit. Bambi gave what sounded like an annoyed snort, and he leapt back into the cover of the trees. But he stopped there and looked at me some more. Figuring it wouldn’t hurt at that point to see how he reacted to my voice, I said “you’re beautiful”. Surprisingly – though not much was surprising to me by then - he didn’t bolt. But as soon as I moved, he took off at a leisurely trot. I watched him fade into the swamp.

The encounter was closer to a Disney moment than a horror-movie clip, as it turns out, but thankfully there was no singing.

Our resident groundhog continues to forage near the swing, as well. But he wants nothing to do with humanity, which may have something to do with being caught in our trap. He dives under the porch with silent ninja speed when he hears anyone get close. I have been thinking of transplanting ferns around the porch specifically to give him more cover.

This is the best photo I have of him so far. I took it from the kitchen window.

It turns out that “woodchuck” is just another name for “groundhog”.

Our bunnies continue to be brazen! This young one was grazing right by the front door.


hero爺 said...

nature, wild and beautiful!?!?!

marna said...

Love hearing of your deer encounter. There is just nothing more amazing than the wild. After we put in the swimming pool our resident groundhog took a permanent hike!

Michelle said...

Hello Hero and Marna!

I am amazed at all the animals that have visited us recently. Just this weekend I saw hawks, chipmunks, frogs, a garter snake, and many many spiders! Our yard is a zoo!