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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Outdoors blog

Deer on the doorstep tests our respect for nature

An injured white-tailed deer rests on the doorstep of a Spokane-area home. (Ted Stiles)
An injured white-tailed deer rests on the doorstep of a Spokane-area home. (Ted Stiles)

WILDLIFE WATCHING -- Letting wildlife do their thing is easier from a distance. But what do you do when an injured deer shows up on your doorstep?

"This deer (photo above) with an apparent broken leg has been hanging out around our yard for a few days," reported Ted Stiles.

One day his wife came home and the deer was resting on the mat by their front door. "Maybe hoping for some assistance, or avoiding coyotes?" he wondered.

The family called the Washington Fish and Wildlife Department and were told nobody was available to respond.

Typically, the agency doesn't have staffing, funding or resources to respond to injured wildlife cases unless there's a threat to public safety.  A moose with a broken leg near a school, for instance. Otherwise the general policy is to let wildlife be.

"We stayed away from that side of the house," Stiles said, "and the deer about an hour and a half later got up and left. 

"Although we have deer visiting our yard every day, we haven’t seen this one since.  We don’t feed deer or other wildlife, and do nothing to attract them."

They just watch, enjoy and appreciate them.

Tough as it sounds, the family seems to have made the best possible choices. 

I regularly see the remains of deer behind our house at the edge of the city limits when I'm out exploring. Finding fresh coyote scats is an everyday experience.  Sometimes they'll have a fawn's hoof in the mix of hair, bone and other material.

I don't necessarily like to dwell on the grisly aspects of predator-prey-scavenger relationships, but something larger than me created that scenario. 

It takes a thick skin to care for wildlife and at the same time accept the way nature works.

Rich Landers
Rich Landers joined The Spokesman-Review in 1977. He is the Outdoors editor for the Sports Department writing and photographing stories about hiking, hunting, fishing, boating, conservation, nature and wildlife and related topics.

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