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white-tailed fawn stands perfectly still in the tall grass, camouflaged
by its white spots. Its mother licked it frequently as a newborn
to eliminate most of the scent that might attract predators. Freed
of the scent, the fawn remains safer in the absence of its mother,
which returns for feedings only once or twice a day.
the lonely fawn soon insists on following its mother, the doe
responds by patiently teaching it to remain motionless to avoid
detection. The mothers tactics even include gently pressing
its hooves against the fawn, forcing it to lie down. At the approach
of a predator, the doe creates a diversion by bounding willy-nilly
throughout the area.
a week or so of birth, the fawn has grown strong enough to travel
with its mother, and they become constant companions. The fading
of the fawns spots about a year later signals that the time
has come for mother and child to part company. By then the fawn
has grown as tall as its mother. Although the doe and her offspring
usually separate right before the next birth, sometimes two sets
of offspring live together briefly.
yearling male - its antlers on the verge of sprouting - probably
will never again visit its mother. However, a young female may
eventually return, accompanied by her own fawn. A young doe generally
produces a single fawn the first time. She may later bear twins
or, if food is plentiful, triplets.
Americans and white settlers relied so heavily on the white-tailed
deer for food and buckskin that the species nearly became extinct.
But the deer has made a strong comeback. It can be found in southern
Canada and most of the U.S., except for the Southwest.
© 1997 Terry White, Drawing © 1997 Bill Harrah.