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Where We Live by John Silveira and Richard Blunt. Photos and commentary from Oregon and New England.

Want to Comment on a blog post? Look for and click on the blue No Comments or # Comments at the end of each post.

Archive for the ‘Town Deer’ Category


Injured deer 01

Monday, July 8th, 2013

Annie Tuttle, the Managing Editor of Backwoods Home Magazine, posted on Facebook that a deer had died on her front lawn, in Corvallis, Oregon. She called the Corvallis Animal Control and a wildlife rehab center and was told if the deer died on the sidewalk, they’d come and take it away; if it died on her lawn, it was her problem and she had to get rid of it. It occurred to me that had she shot a healthy deer dead on the sidewalk or killed one in her yard, she’d have gotten in trouble because it’s the state’s deer. But, as long as it died of natural causes on her lawn it was her deer. It’s bureaucratic thinking at its best—or worst.

Anyway, I had a similar problem, here in Gold Beach, Oregon. I had a doe and her year-old-fawn taking refuge in my yard. The fawn had an awful limp, as if its leg or hip had been broken. Hit by a car? Almost snagged by a mountain lion? Hurt while jumping a fence? I don’t know. But it was obviously close to incapacitated.

My first thought was to call Animal Control or Fish and Game. That thought was immediately followed by the realization that they were most apt to come out and “put it down.” So, there were two possibilities: They could come out and kill it, or I could let it come into my yard where it would either die a natural, though uncomfortable, death, or it might recover and be a member of the herd of “town deer” that live here in Gold Beach.

I decided on the latter and “let nature takes its course.” I left the gate to my backyard open so the fawn and its Mom could seek refuge there and they have been there most days and probably four or more nights a week.

The weeks rolled by and. sometimes, the mom and baby disappeared for days at a time and I’d figure the baby had succumbed or they’d just moved on, then they’d reappear.

Over the months, I’ve watched the fawn as it’s gone from barely able to limp to where it can, now, walk with a slight limp and even run.

It's difficult to show a limp with still photos. This is the best I can do.

It’s difficult to show a limp with still photos. This is the best I can do.

But this is the position the baby usually assumed. It just like to lie in the grass.

At first, this is the position the baby usually assumed. It just like to lie in the grass unless it absolutely had to move about.


G83C0809 cropped for blog


The fawn often liked to go back to the raised beds and lie under the avocado plants.

The fawn often liked to go back to the raised beds and lie under the artichoke plants.

Here it is, hiding under the avocado plants,

Here it is, hiding under the artichoke plants,


No longer afraid of me, the fawn was often curiious about me. That's Mom in the background.

No longer afraid of me, the fawn was often curious about me. That’s Mom in the background.


I'm only including this photo, of the fawn lying under my cherry tree, while the tree was in blossoms because I like it.

I’m only including this photo, of the fawn lying under my cherry tree, while the tree was in blossoms because I like it.





Deer of Oregon, Part 1

Sunday, May 13th, 2012

They’re called the “town deer” for a reason. They’re not “tame,” but neither are they skittish as are the deer just a couple of miles out of town. I would imagine a lot of rural towns have them, though I don’t recall seeing them when I lived in small towns in New England. But they’re all over Gold Beach and they have become used to humans.

There are many mornings I open my front door, step out, and as many as eight deer are on the lawn, many lying down no more than forty or fifty feet away. They may eye me warily, but they often won’t rise to their feet, as long as I don’t do anything unusual.

I’ve become so accustomed to their presence that there are times I don’t even notice them. More than once, while putting things in my car, I’ve walked around to the passenger’s side and jumped because I caught something in the corner of my eye that moved, and I looked down and saw a doe, just five or six feet away, watching me. I’d put my stuff in the car, close — not slam — the door, walk back around to the driver’s side, and I’m ready to go.

The newborn fawns, however, are inherently skittish and, if they see you, they run, and the mommies, though not usually afraid of me, run with them. However, given time — a month or so — the fawns become accustomed to me and don’t run either.

If you live in the city, it may be hard to believe that wild deer will just lie there and watch you. But in Gold Beach it’s common.

This is where I live.

All of the photos here were taken with my old Canon 60D using my EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens. The first three were taken from my front door. The last one, of the girl hand-feeding the deer, was taken on the north bank of the Rogue River near one of the resorts. I don’t know who the girl is. I’m assuming she was a tourist.

I opened my door late in the afternoon, last November, and there he was. I stepped back in and grabbed my camera while he watched me. You don't usually see mature bucks, with full racks, here in town. I'd never seen this one before, and I never saw him again.

Shutter speed 1/250     f-stop 2.8     ISO 200     focal length 200mm


It was mid-July, 2011, and this fawn was one that had finally gotten used to my presence so, when I stepped out with my camera, it looked at me only briefly then went back to eating. I'm not usually sentimental, but this one has about the most beautiful eyes I've ever seen.

Shutter speed 1/320     f-stop 8     ISO 500     focal length 200mm


It rains here in the winter and the February afternoon this guy was on my lawn was no different. (Click on it to enlarge it and you can see the rain coming down.) If you look at its head, I think those are little nubs under its hair where antlers were going to grow, so I assume this was a young buck. This is the only photo of the four, in this post, that isn't cropped.

Shutter speed 1/250     f-stop 8     ISO 3200     focal length 200mm


The deer that hang out near some of the resorts are as familiar with people as the town deer. I was driving along the north bank of the Rogue when I saw the girl hand-feeding this doe. I pulled over about 200 yards up the road and took several photos of the girl and this almost tame deer.

Shutter speed 1/250     f-stop 2.8     ISO 100     focal length 200mm



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