Cheap Goose Decoys – Build an Economical Decoy Spread

A goose hunter does not have to spend a fortune on their decoys. There are many alternatives to purchase cheap goose decoys that are still of high quality. Let’s face it the sport of goose hunting can be get very expensive. By the time that you buy your gun, boots, and clothes, it can seem like the expenses will never end. We haven’t even talked about the most expensive item: goose decoys.

It is not uncommon for a goose hunter to have 20,30 or even 50 dozen decoys to properly set up a field for either snow goose or Canada goose hunting. At a cost of over $100 to $150 a dozen, a hunter can tie up thousands of dollars in their decoys before they ever step foot on the field to hunt. What are the alternatives to purchase cheap goose decoys that are still of high quality.

First, it is important to realize that not every decoy in your spread needs to be a fully flocked, full bodied goose decoy. This would be too expensive very expensive to build a spread. A hunter can substitute many cheaper decoys into their spread to build a highly effective spread at a reasonable cost. One technique is to purchase 2-3 dozen very high quality decoys and mix in lower cost decoys to fill in the spread. A hunter needs to realize that from 2000 plus feet a goose will not be able to see the layout with a high level of detail. The objective is to get the geese to notice the spread and lure them closer.

Brands like the carrylites and silosocks are reasonably priced and will allow a hunter to fill out a spread for a fairly economical price. These decoys can be placed closer to cover so that they are not as easily identified when geese are landing. Using your full bodied geese out in the open will still attract the geese up close even when they are landing in a field full of low cost decoys. Heck, some hunters use Clorox bottles and white rags when hunting snow geese.

One other approach to finding cheap goose decoys is to purchase used decoys from a hunter that is replacing their old decoys or retiring from the field. A great place to look for cheap goose decoys is online. Great bargains can be had buying used decoys in the off season. Keep your eyes peeled in the classifieds and other online sales channels for great deals on your dekes.

A hunter can go broke buying a entire decoy spread made up of brand new full bodied, feeder decoys. However, a hunter needs to have enough decoys to build a decoy spread that will attract geese to the field. The key to saving some cash is finding great deals on cheap goose decoys.

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Deer Hunting Trail Cameras – Brief History

Over the past 3 decades there has been a lot of people, hunters, outdoor enthusiast, birders and more are wanting to see wildlife in a more natural setting. As well as wildlife management organizations.

With the advance in the technology of digital photography in the last 10 – 15 years that ‘want’ has become a reality with the advent of deer hunting trail cameras or trail cams for short.

Even as the technology has made deer cameras more accessible and inexpensive, these were not the first trail cams used.

Trail cameras actually started back in the late 1800s, if you can imagine that. Wildlife photographers would set up bulky box cameras on trip wires to catch wildlife in action in a natural setting. Of course these cameras were huge and did not take as many photos as today’s deer hunting trail cameras do but they would get some great pictures for the time and could publish them in wildlife magazines as they do today.

By the 1950s wildlife photographers were using 35mm cameras that could take many more photos, as many as 36 shots could be taken from those ‘modern day’ trail cams.

As the technology of deer hunting trail cameras rose in the ’80s and ’90s motion detection was being added to the still limited but useful 35mm cameras. Downfalls of the motion detection was there were lots of moving leaf pictures taken. So still not as perfect a system by today’s standards.

Although deer hunting trail cameras have been around for quite a while in one form or another, the use of these trail cams is still in use today and getting better every year.

There are many different types of trail cams on the market today. Choosing the right type, size, color, and features can make all the difference. Learn all you can about the different types and features before you purchase your deer hunting camera.

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Gun Cleaning Guide – Cleaning a Shotgun, Rifle Or Handgun Like a Pro!

Step 1

Scrub out your gun bore with the correct size Phosphor bronze brush and use Bor-Solv supreme bore solvent. This will if used vigorously remove all powder fouling and residue. Occasionally a Bristle brush may be preferred as being made of natural hair it is hydroscopic. This fact will help this brush retain more of it’s bore solvent chemical and for a longer period. In some applications a bristle brush can therefore be an improvement over a phosphor bronze brush. This method however, is now more commonly used in Europe.

Step 2

After scrubbing out using both sides of a Herringbone 4″x 2″ patch in a Split brass or Nylon jag. This will remove all the contaminated solvent. The split jag is used by inserting a patch midway and longitudinally into the split and then rotating the patch in your hand in the direction you are going to tighten the patch and also twist the rod in use. Always check the chamber when cleaning and if there is powder residue around the forcing cone use a Chamber brush handle with a Payne Galway chamber brush to remove residue build up.

Step 3

Next oil the gun bores by using a clean Wool mop and some liberally applied Rangoon oil. Rangoon being a tenacious and slow evaporating oil allows the gun bore to be stored away for longer periods than usual. Occasionally wash out the wool mop with warm soapy water. Use paraffin or turps first if the mop is very dirty. Then when the mop is dry re-soak in clean Rangoon oil and we recommend you keep the mop in a fresh polythene sleeve or similar container.

Step 4

When storing your gun do not forget to first relieve the tension of the main springs by inserting a suitable pair of Snap caps and dry firing the gun. Then after if you install a Muzzle stuffer this will with the snap caps in place not only keep the oil vapour inside the barrel, but will also keep the dirt out and protect the end of the barrels against damage in your gun cabinet

Step 5

Before firing the gun again it is important to remove all trace elements of oil. Oil remaining in the barrel however slight could seriously rival the barrel walls due to hydraulic conversion process. Remove all superfluous oil with a patch and jag turning the patch over until it is clean. Always check the chamber before firing and if there is powder residue around the forcing cone remove it with a chamber brush. We advise you never to force a Payne Galway type chamber brush down the barrel as this type of brush will eventually come apart and may also damage the gun.

Tips and Final Word…

When cleaning a rifle or pistol use the same technique as for a shotgun except replace the split brass jag for a Diamond jag and change patch to the natural flannel type Rifle patch. To use the diamond jag place the jag diagonally across the patch at the end and rotate until the patch has wound fully around the jag. If the patched jag is too big for the bore in diameter, unroll a little of the patch at a time, trim and rewind same until the correct interference diameter is obtained. When cleaning continue to change the patches until the last patch discarded is entirely clean.

Lastly we would offer this good advise. Never be tempted to use a set of Gunmakers Turnscrews unless you are absolutely sure that the Turnscrew blade has been precision ground to the exact size of the slot in your gun screw and the tool steel is properly hardened. Engraved gun screws are very expensive to repair and the incorrect sized blade can very quickly cam out of the screw in question and may damage the gun screw or the finish on the gun. In some cases even injury to the user can occur. If you are unsure always ask you gun dealer for advise. If you must use a turnscrew on your gun make your that it is of good manufacturer not a cheap and poorly made import.

I hope this guide has helped you, feel free to contact the author with questions.

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Deer Hunting Tips – Using Scents For Post Rut Whitetail Deer

A frequent question by many who are fairly new to deer hunting is “What scent should I use?” This is especially true for those who hunt in the post-rut season.

First, some background info – you can lump all scents into two classes:

1. scents that attract, and

2. scents that mask other smells

Attractants are scents like deer odor, sex or a food scent, like apple or acorn. You would normally only use sex scents like buck lure, doe estrous, etc. during the rut when they normally occur.

Masking scents attempt to reduce the scent of something else. A good example is the common cover scents you can buy in the spray bottles to spray your clothes, boots, pack, and other gear to kill the human and other smells.

However, there are other masking scents that are more natural to the environment. LL Rue, the renowned photographer, naturalist, and writer often used fox urine around his blind to help mask his own scent.

Scents like this are not alarming to the deer because they occur naturally and foxes tend to mark their areas all the time.

Here are a few other tips to help you with scents in the field:

– NEVER put attractants on your clothing or boots. Use a drag cloth, put a few drops of attractant on it and drag it behind you when you head to the blind.

– Put a few drops of attractant on a cloth or wick and hang it on a limb within shooting distance of your blind

– Use less than you think. A deer is very sensitive to odors and has been described as 100 times more sensitive than that of humans.

– Pay attention to your own smells – use good scent reduction methods such as soaps for you and your clothes, only wear your hunting clothes in the field and keep them in a bag or sealed container when not in use.

The only one I would use post-rut would be a normal deer scent or possibly a food – and that only if it occurs naturally in that area at that time. For example – an apple smell in late season in the North when the temps are in the teens and there is snow on ground is not too natural!

You can use scents for whitetail deer hunting in the post-rut period but do it very lightly and only use those that are natural to the area that time of year.

There are so many more things to consider to be successful and the experienced hunter will pay attention to all of them if he wants to bag that big buck.

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The Basics on Rabbit Hunting-Shooting in Australia

Australia is considered to be one of the best places to go if you want to have a superb hunting trip. Here, you can go and hunt for various animals without having to worry about certain laws and restrictions. This is because hunting is considered to be more of a welcomed activity here rather than an illegal one.

One of the most common animals to be hunted down under would be rabbit. So, here are the essential things that you should know about rabbit hunting/shooting in Australia.

All About Survival

In general, rabbits are finely adjusted for survival on arid countries. Since they are small and has opposed incisors, they could selectively graze extremely close down the ground, and have the ability to choose their preferred pasture species. They also do not have the need to drink since they could get enough water from the pasture that they eat. However, it still depends on the condition especially if it’s extremely dry.

A Note On Urine

As drought intensifies, they usually pass less urine. They’re also able to have the urea of their urine concentrated during very dry conditions. This would reduce the volume by 75-80%. During periods of severe water stress, they would chew trees, shrub-barks and make use of their limited ability of climbing to obtain leaves and barks just to meet their needs of water. Additionally, adult are more tolerant of being dehydrated. According to studies, it was found that weight loss before dying due to dehydration could have an average of 48%.

Why Hunt Rabbits?

One reason why rabbits are hunted in Australia is because of the problems that they bring about. For one, they present forage competition. In general 80-100 rabbits eat as much as one 450 kg dry/steer cow. They also eat similar species of plant that cattle prefer, such as soft, highly nutritious, low fibre, annual herbs and grasses.

Other than competition, they also put extra grazing pressure upon the pasture. Important palatable species like Oat grasses tend to decrease too. They also prevent tree seedling recruitment, especially those of witchetty bush, which is an important topfeed. There are also times that they kill older trees. They do this by ringbarking them.

How To Know If It’s A Warren

Warrens or holes where they live are usually invariably bare. Hence, this makes their home prone to water erosion and wind. This is then a partial reason why their homes have a stony appearance compared to the surrounding ground. This is because during their digging period in the creation of their warren, they brought the stones up to the surface. This home of their usually cause stock injuries. They also become a nuisance especially when they gather.

Territorial Marks And Breeding Season

When it’s breeding seasons, they form social groups, which consist of 1-3 males and 1-7 females. Here, they have a defined hierarchy. A number of groups could live in one warren. For females, the dominant ones are the successful breeders. During this time, they also actively defend territories. They also feed in limited areas.

They mark territories by creating dung hills where anal gland secretion pellets are piled up. They also rub objects with their chin that has a special gland that produces odour. Males are the ones that usually do the territory marking.

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Bow Hunting Supplies – To Buy Or to Rent

Anyone who is new to the sport of archery will testify how thrilling it is to select and buy the first set of bow hunting supplies. But when you are new to the field and have yet to learn the ropes form the experts, buying your own set of archery hunting supplies can be a big mistake. There are so many things you need to learn and discover about this sport that you would find it difficult to choose the right one from the myriads of brands and models out there.

So what do you do when you are just starting out and wish to get hold of a good bow hunting equipment supplies? Well, there is one good option you can use. You can choose to rent those bow hunting supplies of investing your money into buying one. Many new hunters commit the deadly mistake of buying an expensive pair o hunting equipments that don’t fit them well, and later they would end in some troubles getting to sell them off for a much lower price then they paid for. Sometimes, these new hunters lose interest in the sport and those expensive equipments are left to collect dust in the closet.

The Benefits of Renting Your Bow Hunting Equipment

The best option for any newbie is to hunt those equipments. This way you can experience using those bows and arrow with very little investment. Surely if you are not planning to use this only once or twice a month, you can rent it instead of buying a set of bow hunting equipments that would cost a bomb.

Most hunting rental shops have different models you can choose from. You would need to consider your own body type, the size of the draw length and the torque of the bow when you are looking for one to rent. The expert at these hunting shops may even recommended you to get a gun instead, which is much more challenging to be able to see well to deliver the accurate hits. However nothing beats the excitement of old fashioned bow and arrow hunting just like Robin Hood did! You need to get closer to the target which poses a considerable challenge and a safety hazard which only adds to the adrenalin rush

The Benefits of Buying Your Own Bow Hunting Equipment

It may be easier to buy your own set of bow hunting equipments once you have gained enough experience and decide on the set you want to buy. The best time to buy your own supply would be during the off-peak seasons, and at the time when the shop isn’t to busy with too many never let the assistants rush you along with a purchase. You need to get all the information and feel the bow in your hands before you decide on the one that is right for you. Even when you have a particular model in your mind, it pays to get to know the rest that are available for purchase just in case you need to change your mind.

Remember, it is your responsibility to but the right bow and arrow for your use. The wrong one can cause you to miss a shot or plenty of discomfort using those expensive new bows you have just bought off the stores.

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Becoming a Professional Hunter

When I first told my (then) wife I wanted to qualify as a Professional Hunter, she looked at me aghast and yelled, “you want to be a WHAT! Are you mad?” When I attended my PH training course and examination, the sentiment was repeated……. but thankfully, this time, in humour!

We get many e-mails from young men and the occasional young lady asking us how they get a job in the industry. Some erroneously see it as a ‘glamour’ job, some are genuine hunters and some simply need psychiatric help. Sometimes sorting the wheat from the chaff isn’t easy, so I usually tend to give as much advice as I can and then it’s up to them if they choose to pursue the matter.

Getting started in the industry isn’t easy for anyone, but it’s not impossible. After all, if an Englishman like me can do it, then anyone can. Two of the hardest challenges you’ll be faced with is getting your initial training and then getting your first few seasons’ experience, especially with dangerous game. I was lucky in that my first few years experience was in a more relaxed generation and I was the luckiest SOB in the world to meet and become friends with the late Mr Vivian Good. Viv was not only a great PH, he was also a good man who gave unstintingly of his advice, hospitality and friendship. When I first went along to get my official training and sit my first PH exams, I struck lucky yet again by attending the Goss Professional Hunting Academy in Kwa Zulu Natal, run by Ian Goss. Ian is a tough, ‘old school’ taskmaster, but he gives a superb standard of training and strict examination. Even today, when I tell someone I passed with Ian Goss, they’ll often comment something like, ‘hell, you must be good then!’

One of the most valuable things Ian gave to me was his parting advice as I drove off with my very first PH licence tucked in my pocket. He told me, “Steve, don’t for a moment think that I’ve made you into a good Professional Hunter. I haven’t, but I have put you on the road to becoming one, and as you take your first steps down that road, you’ll learn something new every day.” Nearly 20 years later, that statement still rings as true today as it was then. I’m still learning new things about the business on a daily basis and I doubt I’ll ever be able to thank Ian enough for all his help, friendship and support he’s given me over the years.

The South African Professional Hunting academies, although occasionally criticised by some, are a very good way for the novice to start his PH training and get his first licence, but remember, if you’re not a South African resident, you are forbidden to sit the exams, which means that although you’ll have completed the training, there is no possible way you can actually gain the PH licence.

Don’t even consider attending one of these academies unless you have at least a reasonably good knowledge of the basics such as rifles, ballistics and a general knowledge of the common mammals in general and hunting in particular. If you turn up not knowing a kudu from 30.06, you’ll be wasting your money and everyone’s time and you may very well get kicked out on your ass!

It should be noted that at the time of writing this article, South Africa is currently considering revising the Professional Hunter training and examination system, and if this happens, the course will become considerably longer, more expensive and harder to complete. The proposed syllabus currently looks like it’ll comprise of something like 150+ unit standards and each unit standard will equate to a day’s work or study.

Another option if you are unable or reluctant to attend one of the South African PH training academies, or even if you do attend the course. Your next step will be to begin looking for your first seasons work.

If you live in South Africa and want to restrict yourself to that country, then it’s fairly straight forward, all you have to do is join PHASA and put an advert in the magazine and hope that something comes up. If you’re from overseas, then it’s a bit more difficult. My advice would be to get on the internet and start researching for good quality hunting companies that might pique your interest and operate in the countries you’d like to work in. Then you get yourself organised with a good quality, professional CV/resume and start sending it to the companies of your choice and asking for work. Remember that even if you offer to work for nothing but keep and tips, and you may well have to, it still costs the safari company a great deal of money to keep you in camp and train you, so if you and your application needs to be of the highest possible standard. If it’s not, then forget it until you can make yourself more desirable to any potential employers. I’ve never forgotten one bloody idiot that wrote to me many years ago telling me that just because he had a masters degree in medieval history, had been chairman of his university clay pigeon club for a year and lived on a farm in the shires, he was ideally suited for me to employ him as a Professional Hunter. Quite why, I could never fathom – he hadn’t even ever fired a rifle and knew zero about even the basics of Africa or the African hunting industry…….. Needless to say, he didn’t get a job, but he did give me a laugh!

If you’re lucky enough to break into the safari industry, and some do manage to do it, you can expect your first season or two to be spent doing some of the more mundane tasks such as road and camp building and vehicle maintenance. You’d better make sure you make a good job of everything you do. Stuff something up and you just might be out of a job the next day. After all, a safari company simply can’t afford vehicle breakdowns in the middle of the bush for instance. – The good news is that if you get it right, you’ll be taking the first steps down the road to a great career.

Working as a PH is a great job, but don’t expect it to ever make you rich. If you want to make serious money, go get a job as a lawyer or a banker or something, sure it’s not as much fun as working as a PH, but you’ll probably make enough money to come on safari on a regular basis. If you feel you can forego the money in exchange for the lifestyle of a Professional Hunter, then I’d encourage you to go for it. I did, and I’ve never regretted it. My bank manager and my ex-wife might have done, but I never have……..

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Famous Taxidermists

Martha Maxwell (1831-1881)

Martha Maxwell was one of the first women known to both collect and preserve her own skins. She was born in Pennsylvania but moved to the Colorado Territory in 1860s, during the first wave of the Pike’e Peak Gold Rush, where she became an accomplished hunter. Inspired by the work of a local taxidermist, she began skinning animals for artistic endeavors. Interestingly, Maxwell was a vegetarian throughout her life.

A self-educated naturalist and artist, Maxwell’s work helped found modern taxidermy and changed the look of natural history museums forever. In 1868 she opened a museum in Boulder, and she also showed her preserved animals and birds at both the Colorado Agricultural Society Fair in Denver and at the American Centennial Exhibition of 1876 in Philadelphia.

The Maxwell Owl (Otus asio maxwelliae) is named after Martha Maxwell. She was the first woman to have a subspecies named after her.

The Van Ingen brothers

Van Ingen & Van Ingen was an Indian company specializing in taxidermy. During its heyday, it was run by the three brothers Botha, De Wet and Joubert Van Ingen who were trained by their father Eugene Van Ingen, founder of the taxidermy firm. The Van Ingens lived and worked in Mysore, Karnatak in the southern part of India and became famous for their head mounts, full mounts, flat animal rugs and rug mounts with attached heads. In 2004, author Pat Morris interviewed the 92 year old Joubert for the book “Van Ingen & Van Ingen – Artists in Taxidermy”. Joubert is the last remaining survivor of the three brothers.

The Van Ingen brothers famously preserved shikhar hunting trophies in lifelike poses for the maharajas of India. Their work was considered incomparable to any other taxidermist in the world. The family worked chiefly with tigers, leopards and bears and their book “The Preservation of Shikar Trophies, Artists in Taxidermy, Mysore” is considered an important source for information on the abundance of wild leopards and tigers once found in the wild.

The company was active from the turn of the last century to 1998.

Louis Dufresne (1752-1832)

Louis Dufresne was one of the naturalists traveling on the ship Astrolabe on its remarkable journey. The ship sailed first to Madeira, Tenerife, Trinidad and the coast of Brazil. It then rounded Cape Horn and landed at Concepción and the Sandwich Islands. The journey continued along the northern coast of the Americas all the way up to Alaska. After visiting Monterey, the expedition crossed the Pacific and landed in Macao, China. Eventually, the ship returned to France with an abundance of knowledge.

In 1793, Dufresne started working as taxidermist and curator at Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle in Paris. In the early 1800s, he popularized the use of arsenic soap for preserving birds – a technique which had made it possible for the museum to build the world’s largest collection of birds.

Dufresne also maintained a private collection. By 1818, he had compiled roughly 1 600 bird specimens, 800 eggs from around the world and 12 000 insects. The collection also included a lot of shells, fossils, corals and amphibians. Today, the this collection is a part of the Royal Scottish Museum, after being purchased by the University of Edinburgh in 1819.

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Deer Hunting – How to Pass the Time While Waiting for Your Buck

While deer hunting, it can seem like time can drag on and on. After all, it is not like you can entertain yourself with a handheld DVD player or even a radio like we do in the “real world.” It is just you and nature, and nothing in between. A hunter must find a way to make all parts of deer hunting, not just the tracking and shooting parts, interesting.

A hunter may start to feel like a guard outside of Buckingham Palace: unable to move, no matter what insect or creature comes along. No matter the time, no matter the weather. It is very important that a hunter does not fall asleep, especially when up in a tree stand.

Falling asleep in a tree stand can lead to great injury. Besides, if you fall asleep, you may miss a big buck, right beneath your tree. Even worse, you might start snoring and scare every living creature within miles away.

So, how can you liven up your deer hunting and make it more interesting?

· Music: yes or no. With the popularity of mp3 players, some hunters have started bringing their own type of entertainment along with them. Of course, if you really want to bag a deer, you should keep your ears open at all times. Many people hear a deer before they ever see it. Also, unless you have amazing headphones, the sound is going to extend beyond just your ear. And, as a side thought, some people cannot help but tap their feet or sing along to music… OK in the city, bad when deer hunting. So, just say no to music.

· One way that I stay awake is to stay as aware as possible. I love being in constant check of my surroundings. I focus all of my attention toward finding a deer. I scan the area constantly and I always use my periphery vision. I keep my ears open to any sound. Most times, even on the afternoons that I do spot a deer, I will see many other types of wildlife, and the experience is amazing.

· So, even I can not focus all of my attention fully on deer hunting all of the time. So, I start playing games in my head:

o I take the name of a famous person, first and last, then I have to think of another famous person who’s first name starts with the first letter of the last name, and so on. This can entertain me for about half an hour.

o I find a word, usually somewhere on my equipment, and I break it up and see how many other words I can come up with. For instance, from the words “deer blind,” I get the words reed, beer, bind, binder, blinded, dine, etc.

o I count trees or other objects.

o I philosophize.

o I compose symphonies in my head.

o I try to think of an animal for every letter of the alphabet.

o I empty my mind of all troubles.

o I meditate.

The important thing is to only let your mind wander and play for short periods of time. Then focus your attentions on your surrounding until you need another mind break.

For some people, deer hunting is monotonous. But then there are those of us who love the calmness and “boringness” of deer hunting. All of the waiting is worth it, just for those thrilling few moments of spotting and shooting a deer.

Besides, after a weekend of deer hunting, I feel rejuvenated. The time spent alone in the wild clears my head of all stresses. I sit and think about and solve almost all of my problems of the previous year. I learn more about myself. I learn more about nature. There are few things better for me.

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Orphaned Fawns, Pet Deer, and the Right Thing to Do

“Hey babe, come look at this,” said my wife from the back patio.

As I came up to her, I saw a small, spotted creature with immense ears. About the size of a medium sized dog, but perched on spindly legs, I looked into the eyes of the fawn poking around the property line.

“Hmm,” I said, “Little fawn. Cute little fella.”

My wife, always one to take in a stray and have to be ushered past the tail gaiters with free puppies at Wal-Mart, looked to me with the same eyes the fawn had. “He looks lost! Can we keep him?”

I sipped my coffee and walked back to the kitchen, “it’s fine. He’s not lost, just wandering around.”

She was heartbroken and demanded to know how I could tell in just a glance.

Well, here goes.

Identifying an orphaned Fawn

White tail deer, such as those found in abundance across all of Mississippi, rut in the fall and winter which leads to thousands of cute little baby deer being born from late April to about mid-July of the following year. When born, these fawns will have a more reddish coat than their parents will, and are covered with hundreds of small white spots. These spots help the fawn blend in with the myriad of blooming wildflowers and weeds in the spring and summertime when it is born. As a bonus protection from good ole Mother Nature, fawns have no sent which keeps predators from smelling them. As such, the mothers of these nursing fawns try to stay away from their young as much as possible to not rub off their own scent. By October, the young fawns normally lose their spots and at that time are foraging rather than nursing, well on their way to adulthood.

With this in mind, if you see a spotted fawn in spring and summer, odds are it will not be with its mother right beside it. Mom is most likely hidden in a thicket nearby while the kids explore the world. Alternatively, mama doe may have left junior behind so she could go get some grub, as she is still eating for two.

One of the best signs to see if a fawn is orphaned and in distressed is if it is dehydrated. A dehydrated baby deer is a deer that is unable to nurse for some reason. Perhaps mom is dead, or perhaps she is sick and not producing milk. Whatever the case, these dehydrated fawns can be readily identified by the position of their ears. A dehydrated fawn will have their wide ears curled back at the tips, or, in later stages, will be collapsed and non-responsive to stimulus. If a fawn has nice, strait ears and is walking around, it’s most likely not an orphan. Leave it be. Mom will be very alert to human smells on her baby, and may not want anything to do with it if you try to play hug-the-fawn. Worse, if you lead the fawn away, the doe’s milk will begin to dry within as little as 24-hours.

As the old timers say, “Ears are straight, fawn is great. Ears are curled; it’s alone in the world.”

What to do if you find one?

So you have an orphaned deer on your hands. Your baby is sick, its ears are curled, and it is just plain old pathetic. You have observed the fawn for hours and it’s neither moved away or had a mother come to tend to it. As confirmation, you may have even found a nursing doe killed by a car a few blocks away. What do you do now?

The best and most correct answer is to find a local wildlife rehabilitation group that can take the animal. While they don’t advertise due to lack of funds, these little known wildlife heroes are State/Federal licensed Wildlife Rehabilitators, Caregivers, or Veterinarians located across the state. A good resource to find one locally is MS Wild Life If you come up short, give your local conservation office a call as soon as possible.

Until the animal can be picked up or taken to a rehabber, keep it warm and dry and do not try to feed it any food other than plain water.

Can you keep it as a pet?

The simple answer is no. Now re-read that sentence if you have questions. In Mississippi, it is illegal to keep a deer as a pet. If you are busted with one, you are facing at a minimum of a class 3 offense, and you could be looking at up to a $1000 Fine (plus fees) and/or as much as 6 months in jail. It is also illegal to import whitetail deer into Mississippi. This is for the animal’s own good.

Wild animals taken in as pets are no longer wild, yet are never really pets. Once the steps down that road are taken, the animal is in a strange catch-22 situation. It can never be released into the wild because it’s become so dependent on humans that it can never learn to properly take care of itself. Yet, it can’t be properly vaccinated and cared for enough to be anything other than an easy target for passing poachers.

Pet deer were recently banned in Arkansas. In neighboring Tennessee its long been illegal to harbor pet wild deer.

So remember all this when your wife calls you to the deck with doe eyes.

I need to get that woman a dog.

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