RIO GRANDE VALLEY, Texas (KVEO) — It is a time of plenty in the South Texas wildlands, as spring and summer rains have provided abundant nutrition for native wildlife.
The bucks are in superlative shape as they savor bountiful browse, and their velvet-clad antlers are well on the way to maximizing annual growth.
This season’s fawn crop is exceptional, and twins are the norm. Occasionally, even triplets are discovered resting in lush grass.
When born, fawns lay motionless in cover relying on camouflage to protect them. They are able to walk within hours of birth, and in just a few days can run.
However, during those early days hiding is the best protection, and they will wait patiently for hours for their mother to return and nurse them.
Fawns weigh an average of four to eight pounds at birth, but double that weight in just two weeks a period during which they depend entirely on their mother’s rich milk.
They begin browsing with their mother in a couple of weeks while continuing to nurse and will triple their weight within a month.
Fawns can be completely weaned and able to survive without their mother’s milk by 10 weeks of age. Weaning is a gradual process, and many does often continue to let their young nurse sporadically for 12 weeks or more.
Everything is new to a fawn, and this spotted rascal is not quite sure what to make of these velvet antlers he has encountered.
First, he sniffs and then reaches out with a tentative touch.
The buck seems reasonably tolerant of the fawning curiosity and continues to browse as the intrepid explorer pursues his inspection.
When fawns are not resting, nursing, bonding or browsing they often happily scamper, and you cannot help but smile at the unbridled joy in this youngster’s spirited romp about the meadow as he gambols thru the startled herd.