These deer are buck, but mule deer out back.
Once upon a time a few years ago there was a doe mule deer we affectionately named Daisy. Daisy is no longer but she certainly is not forgotten and in fact is still cherished and remains in our hearts. We figure that Daisy was 15-17 years old when she stopped coming around. A good full life for a mule deer in the wild. Daisy taught us about her species and Daisy stood tall among mule deer. She taught us that deer have their own unique personalities, can show compassion, and are a force to reckon with when it comes to protection of themselves and their young. In short Daisy was queen of all mule deer and a friend that we miss very much.
Daisy has gone on now to where mule deer go but in her wake she left a legacy as an amazing lady whom will not be forgotten. She traveled with her promiscuous daughter as her companion for several years. That daughter (I’m sure against Daisies wishes) was boy crazy. The only problem we observed was that daughter would wander off with the bucks and leave Daisy with her twin fawns. Daisy would hang around for days and weeks caring for those fawns while daughter would be out having a good time. We watched those fawns over the years grow into maturity under Daisy’s care and tutoring. She cared for them like they were her own and when daughter would come back she got the cold shoulder from Daisy. What daughter lacked in maternal instinct Daisy more than made up for.
One might ask how we knew Daisy from all the other doe mule deer that frequent our home. The answer to that is easy. Daisy was not only very maternal and compassionate but she had distinctive markings. She was one tough old gal we observed. At some point she had a run in with a mountain lion and she had scars from her neck all the way to her rear haunch. She showed up with red and sore looking wounds one day along with a sizable notch out of her left ear. Those healed over in time and made her easy to spot in a herd of deer. After watching Daisy for 15+ years I have to say I’d be a little sorry for any mountain lion that would have the nerve to attack her. I suspect that lion was more of a victim than she was prey. We watched her chase a coyote across a meadow one time that went after one of her fawns and catch up to it and leap high in the air and come down on that hapless critter with all four hooves. The coyote did a flip and flew high into the air and after the encounter limped off badly wounded. When it came to self protection or protecting her young she had no fear and would go on the attack.
We also witnessed what to us was a strange behavior when a small fawn broke its front leg. The other deer in the herd including its mother forced it out. Daisy watched the fawn and observed the other deer push it out of the herd and she went up to it and literally took it as her own. She then forced the rest of the deer away from it and protected and nurtured it to adulthood. It would browse right next to her and any other deer that tried to force it out or crowd it found out Daisy and her slashing hooves were not to be messed with. She raised that fawn as her own and we could recognize that deer in later life due to the thickening on a spot on its leg.
We have many stories of Daisy including the fact she was the mother of one of our best friends here named Junior. Junior is a story himself and he now is no longer with us. Daisy actually adopted us and had complete trust in us. We had never been fully adopted by any wild animal before but I can tell you first hand when they do it is an experience you will never forget. I swear she knew what we said to her most of the time. When I would be out working around our lot she would follow me around and serve as an early warning system and protection. I never had a worry when she was with me. Sometimes if I were working in a specific area she would go over and just lay down and watch out for me. Daisy is now romping in fields of tender browse and being rewarded for her compassion and being a role model for the other mule deer. It is a rest well deserved and we miss her and her unique ways very much. I doubt many get to experience life with deer but once you have you gain a whole new perspective for them.