Motherly Bonding: Doe Licking Fawn’s Ear

Today I was fortunate enough to capture a touching moment between a Whitetail doe and her fawn at the Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge in Oklahoma. As I was driving along the auto tour road, I spotted a doe and fawn grazing in a field. I quickly pulled over and set up my camera and lens on a beanbag draped over my truck’s open window.

 Doe Licking Fawn's Ear
Doe Licking Fawn’s Ear

As I watched the pair through my lens, the doe began grooming her fawn, gently licking the inside of the fawn’s ear. Whitetail deer are known for their nurturing behavior towards their young, and this grooming serves an important purpose beyond just affection. By licking away dirt, debris, and insects, the doe keeps her fawn clean and healthy.

The grooming also strengthens the bond between doe and fawn. This close relationship is critical for the fawn’s survival, ensuring it stays near its mother for nourishment and protection. I feel fortunate to have been able to document this intimate moment between the two deer. The image captures the deep care and gentleness that whitetail does display towards their offspring.

Watching the doe tend so carefully to her fawn was a touching reminder that compassion and nurturing instincts occur throughout the animal kingdom. I’m grateful for moments like these that allow me to glimpse the profound bonds found even in the most sensitive of creatures. Getting to witness this natural affection in the wild is one of the greatest rewards of wildlife photography.

Steve Creek, Wildlife Photographer

Gear Used:

  • Camera: Canon EOS 1D Mark III
  • Lens: Canon EF 500 mm f/4L IS


  • Location: Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge (Oklahoma)
  • Date & Time Taken: August 8, 2010 (07:10:54 A.M.)
  • Aperture Priority
  • Aperture: f5.0
  • Shutter speed: 1/1000 sec. (as determined by the camera)
  • ISO: 1250
  • Exposure Compensation: 0
  • Focal Length: 500 mm

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