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  • Writer's pictureTerry Wise

Introducing the Newest Family of Whitetail Deer – Class of 2024!

Late June or early July - it's always the same time each year here on Carillon Stonegate Pond!


The seasonal rhythms of wildlife, like those of the Whitetail Deer, offer a fascinating glimpse into the cycles of nature at Carillon Stonegate Pond. With recent rains, the banks of Carillon Stonegate Pond are lush with tall, green grasses, reeds, and wildflowers. The food supply deep into the woodlands and the wetlands around here must be ample as we have not seen a young Whitetail Deer appear to feed on our grasses since last year.


Observing the new family of Whitetail Deer, especially the emergence of the young, is a testament to the thriving ecosystem around Carillon Stonegate Pond. Wildlife of all types are doing well here. Almost daily, this single fawn appears - alone! This newborn has the distinctive reddish-brown coat with white spots that helps them blend in with the woodlands.


Why does the sighting of the first fawns typically occur in June or July? The breeding season - called the "rut" - usually occurs from October through mid-December. White-tailed deer are called “short-day” breeders — breeding occurs in the fall when day length is declining. The shortening of day length triggers the breeding season. And approximately six (6) months later, the doe gives birth. When the fawn is strong enough to run with the doe - usually in another month, it will follow its mother and begin to graze on vegetation. So, some seven (7) months or so from say December of the prior year, our young fawns begin to appear – late June or early July!

Also, why is this fawn alone? After birth, mothers will commonly leave their fawn alone for long periods of time, sometimes up to 12 hours. This is a strategy to protect the young from predators at a time when they are not able to keep up with their mother. The period after birth is critical to the survival of a young fawn. During this time, fawns are still bonding and imprinting with its mother. But, for this fawn, her mother is probably just over the ridge along the pond - and carefully keeping an eye on her.

 

So - as we say around here - Take a hike and see what you can find – and identify!

 

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