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118   COMMISSION OF CONSERVATION

the same raised by hand would be worth at least $30 for a buck, or $45 for a doe.

My method of raising by hand is as follows: A tract of 3 or 4 acres, free of underbrush, in which the fawns might hide, is fenced off from the main park. Early in May the does that are to drop fawns are confined in this small lot.

During the fawning time the lot is carefully searched at intervals of two or three days, and when a fawn a day or two old is found it is at once tagged by tying about its neck a strip of cloth—red if it is a buck or white if it is a doe—and allowed to remain with the doe ten days, when it is taken from the park and confined in a 5 ft. by 10 ft. cage made of one-inch poultry netting, lined inside with cloth and bedded with clean straw. A 5 by 10 cage will accommodate 12 fawns. The bedding must be kept dry and frequently changed for cleanliness. The cloth lining is necessary to prevent injury. The youngster is exceedingly wild at first and dashes himself against the sides of the cage in frantic efforts to escape.

If allowed to remain longer than ten days with the doe, it is often impossible to capture the fawn except by a chase or by strategy. The latter consists in biding your time until the fawn is found lying beside a log, stump, or clump of bushes, when it is very stealthily approached from the leeward to within springing distance and pounced upon before it can get to its feet. When other methods of capture fail, it may be run into a fish net in which it will become entangled.

The fawns remain in the cage for two weeks, during which time they learn to drink fresh milk from a bottle and become quite tame. They are then allowed the freedom of an enclosure 20 by 100 feet for two weeks longer, when they are given a still wider range. But they must not be returned to the park, else they will become wild again.

The adult Virginia buck, if raised by hand, often becomes vicious, especially during the rutting season, and should not be trusted until rendered comparatively harmless either by sawing off his antlers an inch above the burr or by bolting a 1 by 4 hardwood board 3 feet long across the tips of his antlers. The wild bucks never lose their fear of man sufficiently to attack him.

I would not advise beginners with small means to go into the business of deer raising too heavily at first. It is better to begin on a small scale, say 10 acres, and a held of vigorous stock and let the business increase along with the increase of knowledge gained by experience.

Thousands of acres of rough land unsuited for cultivation that now brings its owner no returns for his investments may, by converting it into small deer farms, be made to yield the owners a handsome pr oat, as well as much pleasure.


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