Mine was a road-kill up along Interstate 79 in Lewis County. Still other highway kills are of nursing does that leave their newborn fawns to a most certain death as well. Others yet are unintentional victims of hay-mowing operations.
However, the second fawn encounter was a much happier experience. Whilst trout fishing the cool waters of Dry Fork (of Cheat), I heard some splashing behind me above the din of the flow. A doe was coaxing her tiny fawn across the Fork which at this locale boasts more river like proportions by West Virginia standards.
The fawn made the swim, got its footing at the opposite shore when the water level was less the length of its spindly legs. All that splash with mama leading the way but frequently looking behind for junior.
While the does are cut from the herds and tending to their fawns, the adult male segment becomes a bit more social, bunching up into small bachelor groups. At this time, bucks are quite sensitive to their growing but delicate headgear.
That's all as this year's set of antlers is growing at a rapid rate within their thick, chocolate-colored velvety sheath. At this time, they take on a most elegant stag-like appearance all decked out in their red summer coats and nifty horn growth patterns.
For some odd reason, these summer whitetails conjure visions of the British redcoats circa the Revolutionary War. And for each deer summer, we cry out the "Redcoats are coming, the Redcoats are coming."
For deer in general, the state herd is presently mounting a strong population comeback. The carnage on the highways is just small testament thereof. Recent good autumn masts and non-killing winters are aiding and abetting the rebound. The first period of tightened up hunting regulations of the modern deer era have also chipped in on the statewide based recovery.
That in mind, hunters should have some positive prospects come fall. However, we hope that the ugly epizootic hemorrhagic disease (EHD) does not crop up as it did last summer. Recall that similar initially rosy deer forecasts were somewhat dampened by this disease a year ago.
To stay atop the ever productive whitetails and to keep their populations in balance there is some slight liberalization built into this year's regulations package. As you read this, you might start checking the local license agents for your favorite county venue.
Another positive sign is that early mast formation is looking favorable at present. Vegetation is lush and food is abundant for the deer of summer. Bugs can be pesky as the constant flicking of the ears, tails and withering of the flanks indicate.
Other than that, it's summertime and the living's easy