The Deer in the Teepee

By Carol Ward and Jim Clary


the teepee

“Once upon a Time" sounds like the beginning of a fairy tale. However, this is a true story about a little girl and the deer on the Ward farm in Michigan. The Clarys met the Wards outside a motel in Kingman, Arizona, on their way to the SCI convention in Reno. In the course of conversation, the following story emerged.

About eight years ago, a 10-year old girl next to the Ward’s farm asked permission to build a teepee on the edge of the woodlot bordering their field. If you ever had the opportunity to meet the Wards, you’d know their answer, “Go right ahead, but be careful.” The young girl labored for several days building her teepee, searching for just the right sticks. When it was finished, it provided her with an entire summer of fun and dreams.

The following spring, Gerald was on his tractor tending to the field that he had planted earlier and he noticed something inside the teepee. A closer inspection revealed a fawn. The fawn showed no signs of fear, so he went back for his camera and got the following picture.

the fawn in teepee

The fawn was in and out of the teepee for several weeks through the spring until it eventually departed, presumably on serious deer business. Then, sometime later, Gerald noticed something else in the teepee. It was a very young whitetail buck in full velvet. Could it have been the same young fawn, now older? No way to tell, as this happened over eight years ago and Gerald’s memory of the precise months is a bit fuzzy.

the buck in teepee

We cannot fault him for that. He is a farmer who gets up before dawn and goes to bed after the sun goes down, seven days a week. Heck, I don’t (and couldn’t) keep a schedule like that and I cannot remember times or places of things I did or saw last month.

Fast forward to the present and deer on the Ward’s farm still “come and go” in the teepee each year. Although Carol and Gerald Ward are both hunters, they have never bothered the deer in this story. The little neighbor girl is now 18 years old. Although we are not positive, we would be willing to bet that she checks on her teepee every now and then, just to see who is staying there.




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Copyright 2009 by Carol Ward and Jim Clary. All rights reserved.



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