Who Needs a Dog When You Have a Deer?

Blacktail deer stares in window of home in southern Oregon.

“I know you are there Curt. Feed me.” One very pregnant deer showed up on our back porch last week. Here, she is staring in the window at me.

We don’t have a clue why a pregnant doe showed up on the back porch last week at our home in southern Oregon. But there she was, curled up, resting on the cement, and behaving like a dog, a very big dog. She looked up as if to say, “You wouldn’t make a pregnant lady leave, would you?” Or maybe she was saying, “Do you have one of those green apples you occasionally toss out because they are old?” I suspect it was the latter.

Momma doe sleeping on porch in southern Oregon.

We looked out our back door and momma doe was curled up on the porch, sleeping like a dog. Her ears are whipping around to keep off flies.

She looked up, curious about what we were going to do, but hoping it involved food.

She looked up, curious about what we were going to do, hoping it involved food.

Deer have insatiable appetites. We have gone to extreme measures to encourage them to leave our flowers and shrubs alone. Peggy has long discussions with them about what they can eat and can’t. We have planted things that give them tummy aches, such as foxglove. And we are seriously into fencing.

One of the plants we have found that deer won't touch is foxglove. We are planting it liberally around our house.

One of the plants we have found that deer won’t touch is foxglove. We are planting it liberally around our house.

In addition to being deer proof, it provides beautiful flowers.

In addition to being deer proof, it provides beautiful flowers.

Close up.

Close up.

Last week, we put in a number of native Oregonian plants to eventually form a hedge. But first they have to avoid being eaten. This is a fence I put up. It seems to be working.

We recently put in a number of native Oregonian plants to eventually form a hedge. But first they have to grow up and avoid being eaten. This is a deer’s eye view of the fence I put up. The spider-web top is to keep deer from jumping in. The herd comes by daily to check things out. So far, so good.

Last week we made a quick trip to Sacramento, leaving plants and mom behind. We didn’t know what to expect on our return. The plants are fine; mom is gone. I suspect she went off into the forest to have her baby. We are just glad it wasn’t on our back porch. In the meantime, our neighbors reported we have a visiting bear. Things are never dull around here.

This photo is to provide perspective. I have a very comfortable lounge chair that I can swivel around to look out the window.

This is one of my favorite writing spots. I have a very comfortable lounge chair that I can swivel around to look out the window. When the footrest is up, my feet touch the windowsill. The doe in the top picture was pressing her nose to the opposite side of the window. The door on the right provided the view of her lying down.

The door on the right has a screen that we use when the door is open. Here, Mom has her nose up against the screen looking at me in my chair. Had the screen not been there, she might have invited herself in.

The door has a screen that we use when the door is open. Here, Mom has her nose up against the screen looking at me in my chair. Had the screen not been there, she might have invited herself in. Note the size of her ears.

Later she came over, stood looking in the window at me, and then took a nap.

Later she came over, stood looking in the window at me, and then took a nap.

 

50 comments on “Who Needs a Dog When You Have a Deer?

  1. This is beautiful. I understand the frustration of gardening but really, having a wild deer as a friend must be so wonderful. Hope she comes back to show you her baby.
    Alison

    • It is neat. Pretty sure she will Alison. They normally hide their fawns thoroughly for a couple of weeks. They have almost no odor, blend in beautifully, and will ‘freeze’ (remain absolutely still) until danger has passed. –Curt

  2. Maybe the hubs and I will have to plant some foxglove. We have deer that love to eat our flowers. And we live in town and have a fence! Doesn’t keep them out. But they are very pretty, and damaged flowers or not, it’s always a nice wonder to see them in our backyard.

  3. Wonderful post. She looks lovely and difficult to turn away, but I have gardened where deer and rabbits assume everything planted is an invitation. So I know the frustration, and I never achieved such sculptural heights as your hedge protection. Foxgloves are fabulous.

    • Thanks, Hilary. “Such sculptural heights” has me chuckling. I’ve told Peggy to think of the flags as Buddhist prayer flags. The deer don’t know what to think. 🙂 –Curt

  4. As you know we have a confused deer living with one of our herds of goats. But while she seems to be adopting their goat ways, she keeps her distance from me. When I go to the pasture the goats all come running, hoping for a treat. The deer will trot along with them until she’s about 20 feet away, then she stops, looks perplexed and usually then runs away. I’m amazed that your friend, on the other hand, evidently has no fear of humans at all.

    • I think she has been in the neighborhood since she was a fawn. We normally go about our business and she goes about hers. I’ve always stopped to talk with her though. And she always seems to listen. She disappears quickly when any strangers show up. –Curt

  5. I wonder when she will unpack her fawn and where? We used to breed alpacas and it was always an exciting time. The new born would be greeted by the entire herd, no fox could ever get close. The biggest danger and killers were wild dogs hunting in packs.

    • I like that story. I’ve noticed that farms around here often put llamas in with other animals because they keep the coyotes out. The doe will have her fawn in a hidden location. They are almost impossible for predators to smell or see. –Curt

  6. What an amazing story! I love the photos. I’m kind of hoping Mama Deer will bring her little one back and introduce you to it. When I am not at my desk, my favorite writing chair is just like yours, only blue, and it looks out my front window.

    • Thanks, Naomi. I suspect Momma Deer will bring her babies by. Her kids from last year are still hanging around as part of the herd. If she does, I will be sure to post photos. Aren’t writing chairs wonderful. I have another one in our sunroom, and one on the porch, and one in the bedroom, and one up on the hill… (grin) –Curt

  7. I may have told you about the spring that I had a mama who brought her twin fawns by on a regular basis. The buckets of corn didn’t hurt, of course. I’m sure she was part of the NASA herd — the Johnson Space Center has a goodly number of deer on their extensive property. My dream is to catch them grazing next to the Shuttle that’s parked there.

    They do develop strong bonds with humans from time to time. Sometimes, their fondness for humans and their front yards gets a little out of control, though. One San Antonio (high-class) neighborhood had a collective heart attack the year the deer moved in and mowed down everyone’s camillias.

    • I hadn’t heard the story about the mama and her fawns, Linda. It is hard not to break out the apples. 🙂 As for their appetites, voracious is the only word that I can think of that fits. Every day they come by to check to see if their are any weaknesses in the fence I put up to protect our newly planted shrubs. –Curt

  8. Didn’t you all have a similar deer/doe last year? And by the way… It appears you haven’t heard about the Commando Deer. They are trained in covert action – like penetrating fencing and hedges quietly and without fear…

  9. Foxglove! Great to know your deer don’t eat it. I will tuck that knowledge away, since I really love foxglove. And poppies. If my purchase goes as planned, I’ll be a country girl again by the end of June, and the current owner says deer come by daily, and elk every 10 days or so. I’ll be combing your blog posts for all the tips I can find on how Peggy stands up to the local beasts. Do they eat rhododendron I wonder?

    • Larkspur seems to survive as well. Not sure about rhododendrons although they are one of the most beautiful plants I know. Good for you on becoming a ‘country girl.’ Hope it works. We sure love the country lifestyle. –Curt

  10. You must have looked trustworthy for her to take a nap, but then again no one can explain pregnant females.

  11. Friends from nature come to you, I guess. We live in such an urban setting — well, really suburban, but no deer — that we don’t experience deer who are pregnant or otherwise so close to home. Thanks for sharing. And thanks for letting me know they hate foxglove. My friends in subdivisions overrun by deer will love this tidbit.

  12. Pingback: Oh, Deer! We Live in a Zoo. | Wandering through Time and Place

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s