Deer finds safe haven with local couple
Billie and Floyd Meade of McLewis have a haven that wild animals are drawn to.
A seven-pointer named Buckshot started coming to their home about once a week in May. He only had spikes for antlers then. Mead’s wife Billie can hand feed the cottontail deer.
The visits started when family from Kansas was visiting.
Son-in-law Terry Allen had gone to check the mailbox. On his walk back, Buckshot started following him back to the house.
“Look behind you,” they shouted to him, as he didn’t not realize the deer was there. Buckshot stayed around to get fed and let them brush him. “He loves to be brushed,” said Billie.
Since then, he has been by for weekly visits to feast on corn, sunflower seeds, peanuts and carrots. “He loves salteen crackers,” said Billie, “but I don’t want to give him too much of that.”
They were afraid the deer would get on the interstate and be killed, so they tried to contact law enforcement. “They wouldn’t do anything,” said Floyd. They also contacted the game warden. When he said he couldn’t come right then, they said he might not be here when the warden arrived.
“‘Try to keep him there’ is what he told us,” said Floyd.
Billie walked into the garden shed and Buckshot followed her in. She then came back out and closed the door to keep the deer there until the game warden arrived.
“When he got here, he told us that was illegal, it was considered entrapment. I told him, your the one that told us to keep him here,” said Floyd.
The game warden explained the only thing they could do was move him somewhere else if he was tearing up the garden. That he was a free animal and had to stay that way.
The Meades also tried to contact Ron Moreau, who used to raise deer in the Orangefield area, but he declined to take the animal in.
“I just didn’t want him to get killed,” said Billie.
Soon after Buckshot showed up, they spotted other deer in the woods, “ … there’s a momma deer and baby … they don’t come near,” said Floyd. He suspects the doe is Buckshot’s mother and the fawn is his sibling.
“I was so happy he had a family,” said Billie. She felt much better about him being around other deer and believes that will help keep him out of harm’s way.
Buckshot on the other hand, doesn’t share his mother’s fears. He follows Billie anywhere. “He’d follow her to purgatory,” said Floyd.
“He likes to be around me,” she said.
“One time she was gone to the store and I was on the porch. He came up, but wouldn’t get on the porch with just me. When she got back … five minutes later, he was on the porch with Billie.”
“He was leaving,” said Billie, “but then he saw my truck and came back.”
Her son, Robert Vidrine of Bridge City, has warned her to be careful. “He tells me, ‘you better watch out when he rubs the velvet off those horns … I hope he doesn’t think your his mate,’” said Billie.
“He’s just now coming of age,” she said. “I’m kind of leery of him, but he’s so gentle … it’s hard to imagine him turning on someone.”
Buckshot is not the only critter grazing at the Meades’ home.
“I don’t know if we’re Animal Kingdom or what,” said Floyd.
There is the mother armadillo and three babies that live under the house, “That’s her third time,” Mr. Meade said, talking about how many times the mother armadillo has given birth.
“They’re so cute,” said Billie. “But they can sure dig up a yard.”
“I saw a coyote in the backyard once,” said Billie.
There are also raccoons nearby. “They used to come on the porch everyday at 5 p.m. to eat. There was a momma, a daddy and four babies.”
A lot of gunshots have been heard lately and the Meades think the neighbor may be killing them off.
Occasionally they wake up to a surprise. “I got up one morning and there was a baby raccoon sitting in the cat box.” The raccoon had entered the house using a pet door that is installed for their cats.
“It was a little bitty thing,“ said Billie. “We like to have never got him out of the house.”
“It’s kind of a nice place here,” said Floyd, who is originally from Kentucky. He and Billie have lived on the current property for 13 years.
“We’ll have been married 20 years in March,” said Billie.
“I guess I’ll die here,” said Floyd.