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I would have guessed in the spring. Yesterday I came across 2 deer together on a semi-deserted road. I stopped my bike and we watched each other for a while. They seemed very small for this time of year. There didn't seem to be any adults nearby though I saw one a couple of miles earlier. I am wondering if they lost their mother at a very young age and have been fending for themselves Or maybe everything is fine. I just never saw them that small without an adult guarding them.
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Could be they're twin late fawns. Were they still speckled on their backs? Usually they are born in the springtime, but they should be weaned by now. Just because you didn't see mom doesn't mean she wasn't nearby.
Yeah, they had spots. I'd say they were maybe 2 1/2 feet high at the shoulder. They had less apprehension than I'd expect. I stopped about 20 feet short of them and we watched each other for about a minute and they stayed there in the open. They didn't move away until I clicked back into the pedals. I was downwind though, so maybe that had something to do with it.
From April through June (although another site claims May through August), after about a 200-day gestation period, the doe delivers 1 to 4 young (normally 2).... A doe will usually produce a single fawn the first year she gives birth and then produce twins in following years. The fawn, colored reddish with white spots, weighs about 6 pounds at birth. It must nurse within the first hour and stand within the first 12 hours. During early weeks of life, the fawn sees its mother only at mealtimes for feeding. Spots begin to fade by the end of the first month. They have white camouflage spots and are further protected by having little or no scent. Fawns usually stay with the doe for the first full year.
So sounds like you probably saw twins that were about one month old, since they still had spots. Probably born in early August, which is in the later end of the normal birthing season. If you held still, they probably didn't see you... their vision is adapted to see motion very acutely, but they don't react to stationary objects.
We've had the pleasure of watching 3 fawns growing up this summer (twins with one doe, a single with another) from the back windows of our house. The house backs onto the side of a big ravine in Calgary, and the ravine is home to about 20 deer and at least 5 coyotes (and porcupine, rabbits, and other assorted critters). We can usually spot a couple of the deer daily, and thankfully the coyotes a bit less often (though we've been stalked by the coyotes more than once, and I've had to chase them away a few times. In Calgary, the coyotes have learned to hunt in packs, rather than their usual solitary hunting patterns, and a lot of dogs have been lost to the coyote packs). One night I was taking our dog for a walk, and after closing the gate in the back fence behind me, I looked up to see the doe and twins about 20 feet to my right, and the doe did NOT like the dog being that close. As I start to move him to the left, I see the the big, ugly gray female coyote about 20 feet in front of me! Fortunately, the doe decided to chase the coyote instead, and off she went with the twins bouncing along behind her. :D I've seen coyote/deer standoffs, where a buck will prevent a coyote from going down a part of the ravine if the does and fawns are there.
Here's a picture of the twins on July 7 (about 30 feet from our back fence), the next one is a picture of the face-off, taken 10 minutes later, and the last one is for scale - shows part of the ravine behind the house - the pic of the fawns was straight back from the gazebo, and the face-off was down on the bike path to the right:
My lord, Gord... that's a gorgeous view! What's under your gazebo? A hot tub?
Thanks, Jeri! Nah, no hot tub in the gazebo... although the gazebo does have running water, electricity, and a gas line! We really lucked into this place. Just over a year ago, we decided to consider moving to a slightly bigger, newer, house, for a few varied reasons, but it was spurred by the elementary school options as our daughter was just starting Grade 1. We looked at a few places, then I saw this new listing come up. The couple that had bought the lot and had the house built were being promoted/transferred, so had to sell. The house was their dream house, and they never intended to move, so had gone to a huge amount of work on the landscaping and details. The view is incredible, if you go straight back from our house it's over 1/2 mile to the next house at the top of the ravine, and along with the bike path running the length of the main ravine, there's walking trails all over the side ravines, and at the bottom end of the ravine there's a couple of big duck ponds. The house has a 3 car garage in front with a sink and floor drain and hose connections, an attached workshop at the back of the garage with 8 different 220V outlets, compressed air lines running to a few spots in the garage and in the basement (for blowing out the sprinkler system in fall), the floor of the garage (and the basement) are heated, etc.. Out back, the guy had spent 3 summers working on the landscaping every weekend, so aside from planting a few petunias in the boxes and a few veggies in the garden patch, it was a summer of surprises, waiting to see what was going to grow where! We had considered having a new house built in a newer development, but dropped that idea the instant we saw this place - we couldn't have replicated what we bought even for $200K (Cdn ) more.
Oh, we did bring the hot tub from our old house, but it's not in the gazebo... (Sorry for rambling, it's too late! If you look closely, you can see the barbed wire above the chain link fence to keep the deer out - although I saw 5 of them in front on our driveway 2 nights ago, eating the neighbor's petunias!)
In the Southern states the Whitetail deer has two rutting (mating) periods. Generally, the first rut peaks around Thanksgiving week with some variance either direction depending on how far North or South you are. The first rut involves the older, dominant does and bucks. There is a second rut that happens near the end of hunting season (December / Jan) in which the younger does / bucks are involved. This rut is less intense.
The fawns from the first rut are usually born around April and will be seen during Turkey season in the Southern states. The fawns from the second rut will be born in June / July and will quickly reach the size you described.
This time of year a couple of things happen that may explain why you saw no mother:
1. Does begin to push their young away in preparation for mating season. This keeps inbreeding to a minimum. A young buck will actually mate with his mother if given the chance.
2. Bucks begin to break apart from their summer bachelor groups and roam around in isolation.