Our Natural Neighbors: The Black-Tailed Deer
At the beginning of the year, I shared an article about the various wildlife we have here on campus. I’ve spoken to many of you in person who have encountered some of them yourself. As this term comes to a close, I want to take a moment to not only reflect on our impact so far, but keep an eye on returning following this short Fall break and Winter Break as well. Allow me to introduce you to one of our many neighbors, the Black-Tailed Deer.
The largest animal to share our campus is a herd of black-tail deer. From what we can tell, there are two main groups that enjoy coming onto our campuses, and a few stragglers that like to explore on their own. What is interesting, is that our officers have often spotted the same groups having a favorite location.
In the picture to the left you can see two of the three deer that call our undergraduate campus home. In this picture you can see Natasha up against the door at our Campus Safety Office. Standing behind her is Bucky. Sam, is another buck that travels with this group and is distinctive from Bucky because he has a much fuller rack of antlers.
This trio of black-tail can often be found in the evenings grazing in the rose gardens, lower residential, or around SOA and the Chapel. In the previous article, there was a picture of them hanging out in the parking lot below Griswold. These three always seem to travel together.
Similar to this trio, the Graduate Campus has their own mini-herd consisting of two does, one buck, and a new faun who I have lovingly dubbed the “Guardians of the Grad Campus.” Gamora, Nebula, Starlord, and (for now) “Baby Groot,” can often be seen on the South Lawn behind Corbett House late at night when the moon is high, and early mornings. They particularly like to graze the trees and near the fenced gardens. This group is particularly shy and they spook very easily, so being quiet and keeping your distance is key to getting an opportunity to observe them. If you’re extremely lucky, there is also a second buck, one much larger than all the others, who likes to hang out in the woods behind Sequoia and the West York parking lot. As he has only been seen twice, both times by suddenly surprising an officer on patrol, he has been named “Drax,” both for his massive size and his ability to remain so still that he becomes practically invisible.
The final doe that has been witnessed around campus frequents the Law campus. She is often spied in the wooded areas behind Boley Library, and has even come as high as the ledge behind the Boley windows. As she has only been seen on her own, and calls the Law Campus home, we decided it fitting to break away from the Marvel theme and felt “Elle Woods” seemed a more fitting name.
It is important to remember that these are wild animals and should remain as such. They should never be fed by human hands, or given human food, as that will decrease their natural fear of human interaction. This could cause them to enter into harmful circumstances seeking food from other humans, such as into a backyard with an aggressive dog or into vehicle traffic. We want you to admire them, but please respect their boundaries and keep your distance. Additionally, going off the established pathways and into the woods on unapproved trails, scares the animals out of their natural routine, and forces them away from campus altogether. Leaving littler behind and noxious fumes from smoking in the wooded area, also deters them from their normal grazing zones. So please consider how your actions might impact all life within our community.
Remember: Respecting the campus is respecting the natural world that surrounds it as well.