Bash(ful)

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During the night of December 29-30, 2013 Bash died at the Reserve. After examining his body, we concluded that icy, cold conditions led to hypothermia after he was injured in a fight with another deer. Bash was one of the older deer, estimated to have been 12-15 years and he could not recover.

Almost everyone agreed he was the most beautiful of the herd — a menil with striking white underside and white tear drops. This picture was taken of him in 2007 under the apple tree, one of his favourite places to be. We will miss our old friend who was named because when we first met him he was very shy and skittish. In the eight years since then he became bold, calm and strong.

Thanks to Tasha Bogert and Rob Patullo, sponsors of Bash for many years and to Don Murphy for helping us at this difficult time.

Jane & Allan

Deerkeepers

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Stable anew and open

December 18, 2011

in Bash(ful),Stable

Thanks to the efforts of Don Murphy and Allan Park, the former stable in our barn is now open to the bucks for winter refuge and warmth. We removed the lumber and porcupine poop that filled the old stable and repaired the old wood floor. Don fortified the roof and created sheltered openings in the south and north walls that have proved deer friendly. We have always been told that fallow deer will not willingly enter roofed or enclosed spaces, but our experience as taught us otherwise. Don designed the doors in such a way that the deer can see the open providing an escape route if needed. So far we have observed Bash, EGee and Mike going in and out.

Here’s some photos of Bash in and out of the new stable.

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Mike and Bash challenging one another, Fall 2009

Bash’s antlers, April 2010

Bash dropped his antlers on the same day as Moki, just several hours later. Here’s a photo of the antlers on him and off him. John C. of Brampton has expressed an interest in this beautiful pair. Here’s a photo of the antlers on the floor and as worn by Bash from the end of growth in August 2009 to this month. The length is approx 26 inches, the beams are about 4 inches in circumference and the palms are about 5 1/2 inches wide.

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A second mini-rut?

March 7, 2010

in Bash(ful),Max


The head deer keeper, Allan, has reported an unusual occurrence in the herd hierarchy. He thinks this may be occurring because Bash has had a surge of testosterone and looks like he did during the Fall rut (golden head colour, thicker neck, flaring orbital glands, thrashing trees and rocks, defending his territory). He is the only one of the bucks in this state and is bullying all the others with particular focus on Max. Max has lost his status as herd leader and seems to have fallen into fourth place, acting as if he has already lost his antlers (an event that usually occurs in early April).

Bash got his name for being bashful or timid when we first took over caring for the bucks. However, now he is “bashing” the others aggressively and giving new meaning to his name. He is certainly intent on taking over Max’s spot as leader and is anything but bashful when it comes to his behaviour towards the other deer.

His overall health appears to be good and we see no reason to think this behaviour is caused by ill health. Another positive note, Bash is not displaying any aggressive towards the deer keeper.

We have been unable to find any reference to a spring rut or any other reason for this drastic change in appearance and behaviour.

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Rut behaviour

October 1, 2009

in Bash(ful),Mike

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Dangling dilemma

August 28, 2009

in Bash(ful)

Here’s a good look at the dilemma that Bash is in these days. Usually we see a buck with velvet one day, then a few strands, then the velvet is gone. Bash must have started thrashing off his velvet too soon as it came off in pieces that have been dangling from his antler beams for several days. Hopefully he will be shred-free by the end of the weekend as he certainly is anything but comfortable.

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Cody feeds EGee, photo by Marion Bogert

On Friday afternoon, August 8, 2008 the Bogert family visited the Reserve to commune with their adopted deer: EGee, Spike and Bash. This family (three generations) continues to support the work of the Reserve and in return, the deer decided to give them the cast 2008 antlers of EGee and Spike. It was the first visit of Tasha to her four-legged adoptee, and she is convinced that her Bash is the most handsome of the herd. All agree that EGee is definitely one of the most friendly and he was happy to accept apples and carrots from Paige, Holly, Georgia and Cody. Spike is still a bit cautious about accepting food from human beings, but Cody had a good throw and made sure Spike got his share.

Many thanks to all the members of this generous family!

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Bash greets Roland

Gulliver (r) greets Diane


At yesterday’s Open Gate, Gulliver had a chance to say hello to his co-sponsor, Diane, who dropped by just before she heads to France to visit her twin grandsons, Alexandre and Edouard, who join her as co-sponsors of Gulliver.

A group from Ongwanada also joined us to help with feeding the deer, as well as a father and his two sons, Gilbert and Roland.

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Casting Complete

May 4, 2008

in Bash(ful)


All the bucks have casted off their antlers as of yesterday when Allan found the 26th and last one dropped by Spike in the afternoon — all antlers have been found.

So here’s this year’s order:

Gulliver, April 10
Max, April 14
Dandy, April 15
Mike, April 16
Bash, April 18
Murph, April 19
George, April 22, 23
Buddy, April 25, 26
Ty, April 25
KoKo, April 29
EGee, April 29
Moki, April 29, May 1
Spike, May 3

As male hormones drop, so do the antlers. The bucks become adolescents again, almost fawn-like. They keep close to one another and seem to get along well now that the playing field is level — no one deer can play leader because he has antlers and the others don’t.

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When people visit the Reserve, they always express surprise that we can identify the individual deer. Aside from KoKo who is easy to recognize given his chocolate colour, at first sight the rest of the deer look very alike.

Having worked with the bucks for over 19 months, we know that each one is quite different and unique in both appearance and personality.

Here’s how we tell them apart.

Max, the leader, is a large deer with one of the largest sets of antlers and a golden colour especially on his head and back of neck. He often stands in the middle of the herd, but never gets challenged by other bucks. (A challenge is when a deer lowers his head and antlers and moves towards another in a determined way. Sometimes the deer will tilt his head and show one eye to the other deer. )

Dandy, is usually the second in command. He is probably the largest deer in body size but his antlers don’t have the wide palmation of the other large deer. He is very calm.

Mike is next in herd hierarchy but sometimes he vies with Dandy to gain status to second. He looks quite a bit like Max and has large antlers. However, his right brow antler is bent over his right eye in an odd way caused by a collision with a barricade when the deer were being moved to Florida from Scotland Road in May last year. Mike is very social towards people. We hope his antlers return to normal this year.

Gulliver is another large deer with the largest palmation of antlers. He seems to be the big brother of Moki (one of our youngest and smallest) who is a constant companion. Gulliver will often let Moki “play fight/challenge” with him but never exerts the full power he could if the fight were for real. Gulliver likes to chase smaller deer at feeding time, doing his best to get all the food for himself, but he never challenges a deer that is larger than himself.

Murph is a large deer with exceptionally long antlers with good palmation and many spellers (or branches). He has a dark coat, but not quite as dark as KoKo. He is very independent and spends time away from the herd on his own. He is not that interested in people…can take or leave ‘em.

Bash is a large light-coloured deer with large antlers that have many spellers and very straight brow antlers. He, too, is somewhat independent and will leave the herd to go on his own. He likes to bully Buddy who is also light-coloured. Bash used to be very frightened of people, but he is becoming very social these days.

Ty has a compact body, a muddy brown colour and very wide palmated antlers with many spellers. Like Bash, he was very fearful of people when we first started working with the herd, now he doesn’t seem too worried by us. He never challenges large deer for food or water, but bullies all the other deer the same size or smaller than him.

Buddy is a medium-sized light coloured deer. His brow antlers turn inward instead of straight ahead which gives him a slightly cock-eyed, cute appearance. His personality is carefree and he’s very curious about people and what they are doing whether it be building a shelter, digging or hauling water. He will run away from food to get a good view of human beings at work.

EGee is a medium-sized deer with shorter palmated antlers, few spellers and long straight brow antlers. He has a dark brown winter coat with a splash of white on his right side where he was injured last winter. He is very social and calm and only occasionally will he bully George or KoKo at feeding time to get in the best position.

George looks like the other medium-sized deer in appearance except for his antlers this year which have little or no palmation. Our theory is that this odd antler formation was caused by the anti-inflammatory medication he was given last winter after suffering a “shoulder” injury. We hope that his antlers return to normal this year. George is definitely the most social of the deer and he can be a nuisance if you are working inside the fence as he has no fear of people and will invade human space quite easily.

KoKo is our most recognizable deer because he is very dark in colour and even in summer he has very faint “spots” on his chocolate-coloured back. He has a compact, you might say round body and he is very social and calm. He is the one most likely to be hanging out in the shelter of the woods rather than the person-made shelter attached to the barn. He seems to like to hang out with Ty or Buddy.

Moki is one of our youngest at 3 years of age. His antlers are palmated but smaller than all the other deer (except for Spike). His right brow antler bends to the right and this winter he lost the top of his left ear as a result of a tussle with Spike towards the end of the rut.

Spike is the other 3 year old with antlers similar to those of Moki. He is the only deer in our herd with a brown tail which makes him a “menil” fallow deer. Spike is social and curious and likes to hang out with George and fight with Moki.

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