A special outdoors friend in a Town of Medary neighborhood died recently. “Tripod,” a three-legged doe that roamed the countryside for more than five years, died in mid-April.
Mark Quade, a resident in the Town of Medary, alerted the La Crosse Tribune about the disabled white-tailed deer on March 30, 2006.
Quade sent a note and photos about the physically challenged deer that he and his family appropriately nicknamed, “Tripod.”
“As you can see, she’s missing her left front leg,” Quade wrote. “It’s difficult to tell whether it’s a birth defect or the result of trauma, but she gets around pretty well despite her handicap.”
Quade said when the deer was moving, she maneuvered the stump as if the leg was still attached.
“She usually travels with other deer and seems to hold her own in skirmishes,” Quade said. “I did witness her getting knocked down once, but she got right back up.”
Quade sent an email update to the Tribune in December of 2008, adding that the deer was “still kicking.”
She has continued to make appearances, surviving three hunting seasons and into her third winter,” said Quade, who sent another photo of Tripod with her two most recent fawns.
“Tripod has also birthed fawns each year since that first picture,” Quade said. “This year (2008) she had twins.”
No one ever knew how Tripod lost her leg. Maybe it was a birth defect, or the result of a collision with a vehicle, or from a hunter’s bullet. However, the handicapped doe survived one winter after another, bringing a new fawn or two into the world each spring.
Quade followed up with his last email on April 28, 2011.
“Our three-legged deer, Tripod, died a few days ago,” he said. “Our neighbors discovered her in their back yard.
“We’re not sure of the circumstances of her death, but given that she survived all these years with a definite mobility challenge, she probably lived longer than she should have,” Quade said.
Mother Nature can be cruel at times, often resulting in injured or weak animals falling victim to predators.
However, Mother Nature also has a warm side. She showed it by shepherding “Medary’s Maimed Matriarch,” for so many years.