Herding a Fawn

You can be outside every day and never run out of new things to see and do. I’m always in awe of something. A tiny bird opens its mouth to release a huge melody. We had a fun day planned with Melissa and Ken and Ken’s camp last weekend. The only way to get there is by boat and we hadn’t put our boat in the water yet. We needed to take a quick ride to be sure the motor would start and run. I always hope to see and hear loons when we’re on the water. I wasn’t expecting to see a brown spot moving across the water. It was far enough away that we couldn’t tell what it was but close enough to see that it wasn’t the right shape to be a loon or duck. It was a fawn.

The fawn was swimming away from shore into the open water on the widest part of the lake. The water is 24′ deep in that spot.

We moved in a little closer to the fawn and came between her and the opposite shore.

Steve moved the boat between the fawn and opposite shore so that she’d have to turn. The waves were turning to white caps as the wind kicked up and thunder was closer each time it rolled. She turned back toward shore. I wanted to scoop her out of the water and call one of two local game wardens to get her but Steve was adamant that the water was too rough to lean over the boat and struggle with a deer that would struggle against me out of fear. He wouldn’t do it. I was willing to take a dip if I fell in (wearing a life jacket of course) but he had no sense of adventure. We didn’t get close while she moved in the right direction but it didn’t take long for her to turn toward open water again. Steve continued to herd her with the boat and got her turned around again. “Come on, little deer! Doing good. Keep going. No, not that way! Turn around. That’s it. Doing good. You’re almost there.” He “coached” her from the boat for several minutes. She was slowing down but no amount of “Steve! I can get her!” was going to change his mind about me getting her out of the water. I thought he was giving in to me once when he got close but she kept moving so he wouldn’t get close enough. The boat broke some of the waves and gave her a little bit of a break from them.

She made it to shore but wouldn’t get out of the water.

We weren’t as close to shore as the camera lens make it seem. We watched from 100′ away as she first hit bottom with her feet then walked to the edge of the water. She stood there panting for several minutes while the storm got closer. She was out of the heavy wind but didn’t seem to be able to get out of the water. I was relieved when Steve hit the switch and the trim and tilt pulled the motor out of the water. He put the trolling motor down and eased in to shallow water thinking she’d get out of the water to get away from us. She didn’t. I handed him the oar and he stretched out to touch her. One nudge was all it took to send her scrambling over the rocks. She curled up under heavy branches of a balsam fir.

I hated to leave her there. Her mother was no where in sight. We assume something chased her (coyote seems likely) but we don’t know that to be so. We had to get off the water before the lightening got any closer. We did get the boat off the water and made the 15 minute drive home before the storm reached the house bringing hail, torrential rain, and wind that knocked down trees and put the power out. I kept thinking of the fawn curled up under the branches.


2 thoughts on “Herding a Fawn

  1. Pingback: How thick is the ice? | Robin's Outdoors

  2. Pingback: Cow and Calf Moose at East Musquash Lake

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