Early this winter a large buck found his uncertain way to my cabin at the Nisqually Entrance. Weak from hunger and exposure he stumbled and fell quite frequently yet his unerring scent led him to a pile of hay near the wood shed. Once there he fell to the ground and, without bothering to move, began to eat. After a few days he had regained his strength and his feeding at the hay pile became a regular routine. And so we had a regular visitor.
Not long ago, however, I heard a scratching noise at the back door and, looking out, saw this buck rubbing his head on the porch. He was, no doubt, deliberately asking for a "hand out". Yet we feed no tramps at our door unless they work for their meals. With that in mind I thought that it would be a fine thing if this deer would patrol the front entrance to my quarters in the entrance station, preventing visitors from, unknowingly, walking into my home thinking that the building was wholly a public structure. But the deer was fed and, perhaps, he read my mind for after standing there without moving a muscle he suddenly blinked his eyes and bobbed his head as if he understood the enormity of the question at hand.
Some time later in the day as a few cars lined up in front of the station my new made friend appeared on the scene and stepped along to a spot before my door. When someone tried to stroke his sleek neck he tossed his head in perfect disdain and then showed a keen sense of humor by a twitch of one ear. At any rate, he managed to keep their attention so fixed upon himself that the visitors actually forgot to wander over the rest of the grounds. So, much to my surprise, he was making himself useful to me after all! Needles to say he gets his meals without asking now.
Harold A. Hall, Ranger,
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