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Monday, August 2, 2010

A White, White Tail Tale

A pale reflection of its twin sibling, the fawn stared, studying us as we stopped in the woods to view this wonder of nature. Its more commonly spotted twin joined it in their first close encounter with humans. Without their mother who was across the road almost hidden among the brush, the fawns felt free to take a moment before flight. 
photo by Jeff Howard
A mouse-brown face with clear, dark eyes turned to face us head-on, defiantly standing its ground unaware of how rare a deer it is. Jeff and I watched, knowing that this deer would not likely survive long, being unable to blend into a woodland backdrop. Many hunters consider a white deer a special trophy even though there is little sportsmanship involved in spotting  the easy prey.
Not totally white, the fawn is a piebald, meaning that it is white dappled with another color such as brown or black.. Though etmologists don't know exactly where the word "pie" comes from, bald actually means white. A hairless man is considered "bald" because his head appears white. (Obviously, the description began with Caucasian men) A bald eagle reflects the original meaning of the word in that the mature eagle has a white head.
photo by Jeff Howard
Several years ago, we had an all white deer that appeared to be a true albino, though we seldom saw it up close.  It was smaller than average and surprised us when we saw it, thinking each time, for a brief moment, that it was a goat.  I liked to think of it as a ghost deer though I was saddened when that thought became a fact.  Hunting season cut its life short when it was killed by a man who was hunting on our family's land without permission. He later bragged about it. All I could think of was this tough guy who killed a deer that was easy to find and undersized without antlers.

Our new piebald fawn appears to be healthy and growing fast.

Darkness was coming fast as Jeff took photos while I drove.  Hopefully these two photographs won't be the last.  The fawns should be too young to be legally hunted this fall.  They stay close to our house so perhaps they will make it.  We look forward to seeing them more.

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