I am a lover of all things sweet.  Cake, as you know, is one of my favorites.  Chocolate and fawns top the list as well.  There is nothing sweeter than a fawn.  They, in fact, share more than sweetness with chocolate.  They come in a variety of flavors as well – dark chocolate, milk chocolate, and vanilla.

Yes, you read that correctly and I’ll be happy to explain.  As you know, it is well past the peak of fawning season.  When you can stand 30-minutes after being born, it doesn’t take long to be able to run.  A day can mean the difference between a successful capture and a chase that simply leaves you out of breath.

I have been capturing and handling fawns for 20 years (and yes, it hurts to say that).  I have simply picked them up and I have given chase.  Here’s what I know.  You almost never catch a vanilla fawn…unless it makes a mistake.  

I have been present for the capture of over 100 fawns in 3 different states.  My favorite flavor is dark chocolate.  Why?  Those are a guaranteed capture.  This is a dark chocolate fawn.

Deer-Forest Study

It is less than a day old, maybe only hours.  Its spotted coat is an unmistakable chocolate brown.  I’ve noticed as fawns age their spotted coat becomes lighter – turning milk chocolate and then the dreaded vanilla.

Milk chocolate fawns are ok.  They are a few days old and it’s usually a coin flip if they run or hold fast in their hiding spot.  Either way, these milk chocolate babies are still very catchable.

Deer-Forest Study

I made it out into the field last week for a couple of days.  Those are the best days at work.  What wasn’t the best?  The proportion of vanilla fawns that now make up the majority of those on the landscape.  

We spotted one of these tiny packages of creamy sweetness.  Being on the opposite side of where it was located, I didn’t see it until we got out of the truck.  We nonchalantly walked down the road to evaluate the situation and formulate a plan.  When I spied our target, it was VERY vanilla.  It was lying in a grassy patch on the forest floor looking at us.  Never a good sign.

Deer-Forest Study

We gave it the old college try anyway knowing full well it was pointless.  Needless to say, we got within about 10 feet and it bolted – easily besting our feeble capture attempt.

When it comes to vanilla, my preference is ice cream.

-Jeannine Fleegle
PGC Deer and Elk Section

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