After 140 days, the Mission Hills Tennis Club owners finally took down the cyclone fence. During that time a trio of native mule deer stayed on the property. Having viewed them there pretty much daily, sometimes several times a day and once in the dead of night, illuminated by a full moon, I am convinced that they never left.
Our worries for their health would heighten after long periods without rain, as there normally is no source of water on the property. I believe that the only source of water was from the morning dew and the water in the grass and plants that they ate. Many of the neighbors would stop to talk about the deer, as they were also concerned.
Here’s a photo of them behind the fence from earlier this year, taking a break from their midday graze to make sure that the photographer poses no threat.
As a result of having monitored the deer from some time, I noticed that one of the does (the leftmost deer in the photo) is pregnant. Compare her belly with that of the doe on the far right. It is also evident that the young deer, shown in the middle, is a buck. Take a look at his forehead and you will see the beginnings of antlers.
This year brought a tremendous field of wildflowers to the open space on the Kimber property. The deer and other wildlife enjoyed this bounty and could be seen munching on the flowers daily.
Now that the fence is down and the deer are free to come and go as they please, how are they doing? Have they traveled far? To try to answer this question I went into the Fremont foothills east of the tennis club.
To my delight, here is what I found.
The Kimber trio were staying nearby, in the foothill wilds east of the tennis club. They had not separated. I wonder if their 140 days of captivity have bound them tightly together?
I have since gone back into the foothills and found the Kimber trio again. They have remained nearby for the time being, enjoying their new-found freedom.