Seeing wild deer in Metro Vancouver is a rarity, especially as more green is increasingly converted into grey. Our forest of a backyard is more likely to attract birds, squirrels, raccoons, and (very occasionally) neighborhood cats. We have yet to lose a single flower or vegetable to these browsers. Even trips to the local mountains (Grouse, Seymour, Cypress) have never yielded any encounters with said wildlife (I have had more luck with wild black bears in Coquitlam).

one of the older siblings (probably a two-year old) with a hint of a smile on its face © W.H. Sim, All Rights Reserved.

I have only ever glimpsed deer at the Maplewood Conservation Area in North Vancouver, which is managed by the Wild Bird Trust, and is composed of 310 acres of wildlife habitat (of which 74 acres is land). I hit the jackpot during my most recent visit to MCA on August 28. In a small clearing, feeding not 30 feet from each other on opposite sides of the trail (and, at times, less than 5 feet away from a small handful of photographers) were two families of blacktail deer.

one of the does -- the one with a lame leg (center) with the younger fawn (left), who still has faint spots on its side, and the older sibling on the right © W.H. Sim, All Rights Reserved.

Each family of three had fawns of different ages (shattering my personally-held myth that young deer eventually leave their mothers when they are full grown). No one was sporting antlers--the father (or fathers) of these fawns were obviously not present. One of the does was visibly limping, though. What really amazed me was how close the does let their fawns approach us (black bears and bobcats have been known to frequent the forested section of MCA). One fawn was happily bounding in a Bambi-esque manner through the forest as its older sibling and its mother were browsing. Clearly, they knew we were not predators.

no falsies are necessary -- because Bambi has naturally long eyelashes! © W.H. Sim, All Rights Reserved.

For one magical hour, these two families continued to play and dine at the all-you-can-eat, all-you-can-reach vegetarian buffet, while ignoring the four photographers who watched and captured their every move (and that's exactly how it should be!) It's easy to forget that suburbia is just a few minutes away when you're at the edge of the forest, communing with nature like this.

so concludes this tale/tail! it's time to move on. :) © W.H. Sim, All Rights Reserved. ✍️

Published by Hui Sim