Deer Tag

A Gulf fritillary rests on a Zinnia in the garden of author Steven T. Callan.

An Island of Our Own

A Gulf fritillary rests on a Zinnia in the garden of author Steven T. Callan.

Annuals, like Zinnia, attract several species of butterflies to the island, including tiger swallowtails, monarchs, pipevine swallowtails, buckeyes, painted ladies, and this gorgeous Gulf fritillary. Photo by Steven T. Callan.

Over the years, Kathy and I have often dreamed of escaping today’s fast-paced, hectic world and moving to an island of our own—an island of trees, flowers, and abundant wildlife, where we could experience the joys of nature without leaving the confines of our own property. Realizing that buying an island wasn’t a realistic option, we decided to do the next best thing and create one on our three-acre patch of oak woodland in the foothills of Northern California.

In six months, our tiny spotted fawn grew into a magnificent pre-adult buck, almost as large as his mother.

Our Deer Friends

Fawn looking up at doe. During the spotted-fawn stage, doe and fawn were almost inseparable, except when the fawn was hidden in the high grass. All photos by Steven T. Callan and Kathy Callan.

Fawn looking up at doe. During the spotted-fawn stage, doe and fawn were almost inseparable, except when the fawn was hidden in the high grass. All photos by Steve and Kathy Callan.

During the thirty-plus years Kathy and I have lived in the foothills east of Redding, we’ve been treated to occasional visits from black-tailed deer. They generally don’t stay long—a day or two—then they move on. Sometimes they’ll pay us a visit at night while we’re sleeping. The next morning, a trail of partially eaten plants tells the tale.

Photo of Rocky Mountain mule deer, taken by Steve Guill at Tule Lake National Wildlife Refuge

The Headhunter

Photo of Rocky Mountain mule deer taken by Steve Guill at Tule Lake National Wildlife RefugeI’m currently writing a sequel to my first book, “Badges, Bears, and Eagles.” One of the chapters in my next book is entitled “The Headhunter.” It’s about a beautiful Rocky Mountain mule deer buck that was poached back in December of 1992. What made this wildlife crime so heinous wasn’t so much that the deer was killed during closed season. It wasn’t even that it was taken inside Tule Lake National Wildlife Refuge. What bothered me most was what the no-good scoundrel (for lack of a better word) did after he killed the deer.