Monday, July 30, 2012

Oh, Deer

Path to the forbidden zone.
I was in fully suited spiffiness to attend a meeting with Japanese regulatory representatives when the call came in. My wife informed me her suspicion that the doe we’d seen sporadically in the back yard did have babies with it, most likely born there.

While lovely looking animals, the presence of near epidemic levels of Lyme bearing ticks this year meant they needed to go. Nature’s nice, but you don’t see us driving out to the middle of their forest to give birth, do you?

My meeting finally ended, after a slow start caused by the Japanese attendees mistaken belief that since I was casually referred to as the test “expert” they were not allowed to talk directly to me.

Gotta love cultural differences.

I drove home, grabbed a plastic garbage can lid to make noise with, opened the gates on both sides of the house and headed into the back yard to perform my task without bothering to change.

Really, how long could this take?

– Ha Ha!

Upon my approach, the mother deer followed eons of herbivore instincts. Trusting her young’s woodland camouflage to render it nearly invisible in a “thicket”, she bolted over the fence into the neighbor’s yard.  Apparently, she was unaware of my lack of desire, or in fact ability, to leap over the border fence in pursuit of her.  She then remained there, stomping around and making an obvious target of herself for much of the remainder of this fiasco.

Or perhaps she was just laughing at me.

I located a fawn in the rear part of the yard (yes, in a thicket) after a great deal of searching.  That woodland camouflage is mighty effective let me tell you. Walking toward it as loud as possible I began my simple task of flushing the youngster around the house and out to the front of the house. 

The baby ran down the yard directly toward an open gate, and then veered at the last minute into a thicket next to it, completely ignoring – might I add - how simple my task was supposed to be.  Using the can lid to beat the bushes a bit, I got the thing to run out…and back up to the thicket it started in.

I attempted to follow closely behind it, but whoever coined the phrase, “Runs like a deer” certainly knew what the heck they were talking about.

I had to do some searching to find the blended in beastie, flushed it out of its original thicket again, and watched it proceed to run into the chain link fence.  

Not the springy chain linky part of the fence…


That would have been fine.

The little bugger ran –
Head first –
Into the metal post between the sections of chain link.

At first I was deeply concerned, notable by my cries of:

“Don’t be a schmuck, Bambi!”

Then when it was obviously having no effect, I gave up hope that the thing would knock itself out allowing me to lift it over the fence, and tried chasing it in another direction.  The other direction it ran was toward the other open gate, where it hid in another thicket.  We have too many damn thickets in our yard.

We continued this thicket to thicket pattern, the fawn making leaps that took it up retaining walls and onto the deck in its flight.  This firmly established that it could have jumped the fence easily, instead of trying to knock it over with its skull.

In all the confusion, I had forgotten my wife saw two babies with the mother, until the second one streaked out from behind me while I was trying to spot the first.   This firmly established that I could have jumped the fence easily, if similarly startled while running.

Now the game of run-seek-thicket bash-run back was being played double time. 

I finally managed to flush one out of a thicket into an open gate.  I stood there, blocking its only way back into the yard.  The cute, sweet, harmless, baby creature let out a war whoop and charged straight at my shins.  As I’d seen that tiny head repeatedly batter a steel post, I was luckily blocking my legs with the plastic can lid.  In fact, it would have been very easy to scoop the little monster right through the gate with the lid as it bounced off.

I would have done that, but I was too busy screaming like a little girl at the time.

The chase continued a little longer.  Despite the fawns having no problem repeatedly running into the fence itself, in hopes that due to Heisenberg they would pass through and escape, they absolutely refused to cross the deer proof force field across the gates.

I staggered back to the front door in my rumpled suit, rang the bell, and informed my wife that the babies were very cute and I decided we should share our patch of the woods with them.  After indicating I could choose between calling animal control and sleeping in the yard with them, I volunteered to try one more time. 

My wife joined me on the deck, broom in hand, to act as a deer traffic controller.  She attempted to guide them away from the far back of the yard when they were running from the terror of the open gates. 

Working in tandem, we finally managed to get one to overcome its irrational fear of thresholds and leave the backyard. It looked to be running across the front of our house, leading me to yell frantically and near incoherently to my wife to shut the other gate.  She closed it up before our guest could play, “Honey, I’m home,” while I continued to prove that the McGinley Tribe would quickly go extinct on the Serengeti.

With two of us, a single target, and one exit point we managed to herd the second fawn (if “herd” is the right word for a solo animal) out of the yard, and batten down the hatch behind it as it ran down the driveway and street in the direction it’s sibling and mother had gone.

I’m starting to wonder if it would have been easier to just get treated for Lyme’s.

Click here for a possible revenge tale.


Linda said...

I've given up trying to keep the deer from eating my plants since they are fully aware that I can't really harm them in any way.

When the theoretical deer repellent stopped working and mama with 2 fawns just sat in the front yard looking at me screaming at them from the stoop I surrendered.

Jeff McGinley said...

I gave up stopping them from eating the plants when they jumped the fence to eat the tulips we sprayed with a scent so obnoxious we couldnt get within five feet of them. I still chased them out of the yard though, because it was "easy".