BuckTracker: Baby Talk

One of my favorite elements of hunting the last weeks of turkey season in the Midwest has nothing to do with turkeys. Mid- to late-May is fawning time in this region and it’s a rare spring when I don’t see at least a couple newborn whitetails during my travels. And I can recall bumping into (almost literally) at least five fawns over the years. I had a camera in my hand for one of these encounters, and I shot a roll of slide film as I knelt by the youngster…who “hid” behind a single leg that it held in front of its face!

Just yesterday, my wife and I spotted a fawn—with mom nearby—from the road. The youngster was so small it was clearly only hours old. Though the wobbly-legged whitetail was fresh from the factory, it was not the youngest fawn Shari and I had ever discovered. One spring afternoon about a decade ago, we were on an afternoon drive when we saw a doe standing a mere foot from the road shoulder. I slowed the vehicle to a crawl, thinking the deer might be sick and ready to topple into my bumper. But as we pulled up to her, Shari spotted the source of the doe’s odd pose and refusal to budge; twin fawns curled in the ditch that had to be minutes new to the world. The doe had clearly been in the process of crossing the road (probably on the way to a prime birthing area) when Nature decided it was time. The sight of that family of three in that odd, dangerous setting was something I’ll never forget.

In the next installment of Buck Tracker, I’ll chat about some of the oddities of life for young whitetails. In the meantime, please share your fawn stories here…and keep your eyes peeled for little ones!