The Life of Dutton

Masterdunbar

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Many of you LRO members see a critter in the background of my pictures from time to time and have asked that I post pics and do some explaining. So I figured it would be fun to start a threat of that little guy. His name is Dutton, our newest family member. He is a Columbian Blacktail deer and this thread is his story. Ill post updates and keep any of you informed of his well being, if interested. Feel free to ask questions as well. We find him very educational, not only from the perspective of a hunter but also as a taxidermist, conservationist......etc. Lots to learn from this guy.

It started on a warm June morning in 2021 when one of my girls noticed a fawn walking across our lawn. He was for sure lost......and no momma in sight. We planned to leave him alone and figured she would return for her kid sooner or later but that afternoon the crows showed up and that led us to her eternal resting spot. What to do? We called every local wildlife caretaker in our area and it was quickly realized they would only turn him into food for their caged predators......we said to hell with that. With a little research we were able to care for him but let me tell you, it has not been easy. The girls named him Dutton after one of our favorite shows. "Dutton cute as button" they would say.

Due to state law we cannot contain him, therefore we let him come and go as he pleases but provided food and safety. After some time he refused to sleep anywhere but the back patio and eventually jumped in the backyard with the dogs at night.........and many times would find his way into our house if a door was left ajar. (we failed at potty training.....clearly). I recently gave him a collar with a GPS unit on it. This causes alot of sleepless nights but..........when that day comes (which it will due to a car or my jackass neighbors deer hunting their yard) I will atleast get closure in some way. He has become quite special.

Again, fee free to ask questions. Ill keep posting from time to time......the chronicles of Dutton.

 

Masterdunbar

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Masterdunbar

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He found great places to hide around the house pretty quickly. Girls put a collar on him that day to see if they could walk him around……he didn’t mind it. It wasn’t easy the first few weeks letting him be free but he really tucked into the house at night which made it easier. The garage with the cats was his initial favorite.
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Masterdunbar

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After a few months he learned to jump in the backyard and sleep with the dogs and eat some grub. The dogs never were aggressive towards him. My pointer is used as a tracking dog and really just had the look of…”why ain’t he dead?”

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Spreedizzle

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Ha. That’s pretty awesome right there. Judging by the age of your girls…I’m guessing that them naming them Dutton has nothing to do with Yellowstone……and only him being “cute as a button”. ;)
 

Masterdunbar

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Thank you for sharing. What an awesome experience it must be to have him around. I'd be cutting his antlers off every season. lol

I do a lot of shed hunting in the spring and am looking forward to finding his. Shouldnt be hard with the GPS tracker on him . Tho I will say …..when the rut arrives we are going to be vigilant. I expect that even as a spike he will be a little neurotic and aggressive. So cutting the horns off may be an option …as well as a way to keep him alive


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AXEFORCE6

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I do a lot of shed hunting in the spring and am looking forward to finding his. Shouldnt be hard with the GPS tracker on him . Tho I will say …..when the rut arrives we are going to be vigilant. I expect that even as a spike he will be a little neurotic and aggressive. So cutting the horns off may be an option …as well as a way to keep him alive


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My thoughts exactly.
 

Masterdunbar

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A moral dilemma that we are facing is we want him to have a normal life. We don’t want to deprive him of his natural instincts or ability to do what the good Lord intended for him to do.
Then at the same time we also want to give him the best odds of survival.


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Had friends that raised a whitetail fawn in the same way. At 1 1/2 he got very aggressive as the rut came around. By 2 1/2 he was very bad. Knocked the girls down (12 and 8) attacked the dogs regularly, chased the wife into the house. It got bad. Hopefully Dutton doesn’t get that way.
 

Masterdunbar

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Yea…..we are expecting that and it won’t be tolerated. There is a resident doe herd…very wild. I suspect and hope that during those times he disappears and travels looking for does like a normal buck. We shall see.


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Jasent

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Whitetail are typically the most aggressive imo. Hopefully you won’t have to go through this one
 

OSOK - Crash

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I do a lot of shed hunting in the spring and am looking forward to finding his. Shouldnt be hard with the GPS tracker on him . Tho I will say …..when the rut arrives we are going to be vigilant. I expect that even as a spike he will be a little neurotic and aggressive. So cutting the horns off may be an option …as well as a way to keep him alive


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Be prepared for a fight if you try to cut his antlers. I’ve got a captive whitetail farm close. He said it is not fun cutting them off. He said it’s the worst thing about keeping whitetails.

The only other thing that he said was worse (which he will never do again) is collecting buck urine. One guy asked him for buck urine, and he said it was worse than cutting off their antlers. Said he will never do it again.
 

OSOK - Crash

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A moral dilemma that we are facing is we want him to have a normal life. We don’t want to deprive him of his natural instincts or ability to do what the good Lord intended for him to do.
Then at the same time we also want to give him the best odds of survival.


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You could always leave the pink collar on him.
May help to prevent the stupid neighbors from shooting him?

May be a snag hazard though.
 

Masterdunbar

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Thought about making him a stag but again ….denying his natural ability

We would anesthetize him if we cut the rack to make it easy but hate the idea of taking away his defense. We get some bomber blacktails in our yard and lots of coyotes.

Thinking some form of hair paint …BRIGHT PINK AND PURPLE… to help people understand he is a pet ??? Might give him an edge during hunting season.

All ideas we are floating around. Either way, not an easy one. A doe would have been so much nicer lol. I wish we lived out further too. I feel bad for the poor bastard who tries to shoot him and I come knocking on his door. “You shot a bedazzled pink and purple buck wearing a collar. “.


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Had a buddy several years back that had the same thing happen. Found a fawn buck and his dead mom. After a couple years he got very aggressive during the rut, they also cut his rack off. He eventually wandered off to find him some land of his own.
I would say you have already domesticated him, his fear of humans is one of the main things that will keep him alive. I would talk to the neighbors and ask them not to take advantage of the situation. Little deer don’t know any better and without mamma to teach him he is at a disadvantage. During some training (maneuvering, blanks being fired, and artillery and grenade simulators going off) had a fawn walk right up to us. The Platoon Sergeant picked it up and took a picture with it before putting it back in the wood line.
As for collars… I wouldn’t count on it working. Several years back I shot someone’s pet doe that had escaped and quickly joined a local herd. Was bow hunting and just picked the largest one of the group (she was very big and stood out) and made a 63 yard shot. When I recovered her she had a dog collar on (I obviously didn’t see it before I shot). When I told the land owner he said one of the neighbors up the road had some pet deer. I was torn on whether I should offer them some meat or not, after all it was farm raised and very well fed.😂
 

Masterdunbar

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Crazy couple days for Mr Dutton, I’m sure. Little fella covered 3.53 miles in less than 25 minutes a few days ago. Farthest he’s been. By the tracks and location he was definitely being chased, most likely coyotes. He settled on a ladies backyard, very nice person thank goodness. We drove up after the 2nd day of no return and loaded him up in the 4Runner to take him home. She laughed and said “ I never noticed the collar. I just thought he was a super friendly deer. He really likes bird seed“ 😂👍
 

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Broz

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I can feel the attachment you have to this animal. Once he grows a set of horns he is doomed under the life conditions he is living. I know you realize that, but have you considered trying to get him into a zoo or wildlife preserve? Maybe some sort of FWP educational facility? I too fear for him.
 

Masterdunbar

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I can feel the attachment you have to this animal. Once he grows a set of horns he is doomed under the life conditions he is living. I know you realize that, but have you considered trying to get him into a zoo or wildlife preserve? Maybe some sort of FWP educational facility? I too fear for him.

I’ll give it some thought. We are a little offset by those local organizations since they initially would not take him and raise him. But it was a lot of work so I get it. Resources are pinched. Just feels like a “Damned if you do. Damned if you don’t” kind of scenario.


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Masterdunbar

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This is going to sound cold. We have distanced ourselves emotionally from him so as to not set ourselves up for complete failure lol. We still try to help him though, obviously. But we see it as simply another experience in life we are fortunate to have. We will keep looking for a safer path for him. In the mean time I’m having fun putting a holy war on any and all coyotes.


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Broz

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I’ll give it some thought. We are a little offset by those local organizations since they initially would not take him and raise him. But it was a lot of work so I get it. Resources are pinched. Just feels like a “Damned if you do. Damned if you don’t” kind of scenario.


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I totally understand. A zoo would be perfect
 

Broz

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This is going to sound cold. We have distanced ourselves emotionally from him so as to not set ourselves up for complete failure lol. We still try to help him though, obviously. But we see it as simply another experience in life we are fortunate to have. We will keep looking for a safer path for him. In the mean time I’m having fun putting a holy war on any and all coyotes.


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I get it. And you saved him allowing him a second chance at life. But he is not normal now, he is domesticated.
 

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