I started this discussion because Beth Alexander Easter posted gorgeous deer photos on my page. I am inspired.
I grew up beside the largest urban park in Canada, the Assiniboine Forest. It has even been featured in National Geographic as a significant wetlands preserve.
My life was filled with White Tails. On horseback, I rode right up to them.
I aaaalmost touched their soft backs. My horses, both Arab and Thoroughbred, were completely amenable. I longed to race them, but this was impossible; deer sprint through the smallest openings between trees.
I helped with orphaned fawns that were brought in to the Parks Department. And I had the hoofmark bruises to prove it. Contrary to popular perception, deer are aggressive. The fawns climbed me and each other to get their bottles, battering with sharp feet and bleating loudly.
The Parks people and local farmers fed deer hay through harsh winters. Winnipeg can get to as cold as 70 below, with wind chill. The radio announces, "Your skin will freeze in one minute." Sometimes the entire city stays home from work. Despite our engines being plugged into the wall for heat, cars refuse to start. Combined with a deep snow fall, deer fatalities become a concern. A common sight while riding or walking my dogs was the leavings of a bale, surrounded by dozens of exquisite hoof prints.
Once, my Doberman bitch disappeared into the underbrush and returned with a magnificent set of antlers. A natural death? I hope so. We did cope with poachers in this little piece of Eden. I have carried those antlers across the country and display them proudly. In memory of both a good dog and the White Tails.
The morning I was moving to Vancouver, I woke up to a herd of deer in my driveway, right in front of the living room window. They looked at me for a long moment, then disappeared with a flash of white tails. Though my neighbours moaned about damage to their gardens, I had never before received a visit. My large dogs kept them away. I knew the White Tails had come to wave goodbye.