Tuesday, October 30, 2018
I went out and he didn't run off or act alarmed so I got an ice cream bucket and went down under the house and put some bird seed in it. Junior followed me and when I came out he walked right up to me and commenced eating out of the bucket while I held it. Junior officially adopted us that day.
We had a long close relationship with Junior and his friends he would bring to visit that lasted for years. I would rub his nose and scratch his head and he would make small mewing or purring sounds. When my shirt sleeve would get tangled in his antlers I would tell him to hold still while I got us untangled which he always did. We would spend many days together and I would talk to him and I slowly realized he would understand some of what I was telling him.
During the rut he would go off to court the ladies and come back exhausted. He would stand by the fence like in the photo until I came out and then he would lay down right next to the fence trusting me to look out for him while he slept. I could walk right by him and he would open an eye - see who it was and go immediately back to sleep. We had a level of trust for each other that is rare between a human and wild animal.
There are so many stories about Junior that there wouldn't be room in this blog to tell them all. He stayed around for many years and our trust for each other grew each year. The last time I saw Junior was in his senior years when he brought a rather large herd with him. I walked through the deer and he came to me and we spent a few moments together with the other deer probably wondering what was going on. I don't know what happened to Junior but I miss him terribly. Deer live up to 15 years in the wild and Junior lived all of that.
It is not often that a wild animal will put forth the effort to adopt a human as a friend but he did in my case. We understand that Junior was one of the fawns that hung around those days when I was cleaning up brush. His twin came around for several years but never never developed the intimacy that Junior did. It was a rare friendship that I am happy to have experienced.