I first learned about "Jonnie" the deer when "she" (Jonnie is a doe) adopted a group of duck hunters from Kentucky last fall.  These duck hunters were hunting a cornfield south Sterling, when this deer showed up in their field and stayed with them all morning.  You can read about that HERE.

Then last November, we started a campaign to SAVE or spare Jonnie, from the deer hunting season that was set to open.  Listeners came up with ideas to put an orange vest on her, so hunters would know.  Another idea was to spray paint orange on the deer.  Well, the deer season came and gone.  You can read about that HERE.

Did Jonnie make it?  I had several of my listeners/readers reach out to me to ask.  After a few leads, I finally met a couple of fine people on Facebook, Brenna Guenther & Caleb Fallgatter, who helped arrange a meeting with Jonnie, also known as "Ruth" to some people.  There's even a Facebook page that tracks her whereabouts.

This past Friday night, we finally got a chance to meet Jonnie.  I asked Caleb and Brenna if there was anything we could bring as a treat for Jonnie.  Brenna, told us Jonnie loves French Fries.  Go figure?  So, we headed east of Bismarck on highway 10 loaded down with apples, bananas and French Fries.  When we reached the farm, where Jonnie sleeps every night on the porch, (Caleb's Parents house) we found out she was right up the road at Caleb's crib.  As we pulled into the yard, there was Jonnie feeding on the edge of a shelterbelt.

Rick Rider

It didn't take long for Jonnie to warm up to us.  In fact, we soon had her eating out of the palm of our hand.

Rick Rider

 

As advertised, Jonnie has a taste for French Fries.  She was such a sweet animal, not much different than a dog.  She even gave kisses.  She enjoyed being petted on her face and head.

Although Jonnie is living the good life, she's had a tough one too.  She roams back and forth from about 10 farms in the area.  Jonnie's Mom and sibling died when they were hit by a car 5 years ago.  The Fallgatter's nursed her back to health, (she had a broken leg) and raised her through those early months of life.  Danger is always near for a deer.  A coyote howled off in the distance as we fed Jonnie, and her ears perked right up.  Caleb has had to rescue Jonnie on more than one occasion from coyotes.  Fences, hunters, predators and being hit by a car is always a concern.  Last year, Jonnie had two fawns who both died.  The previous year, she also had two babies, who Caleb believes made it.  Jonnie is expected to give birth again sometime this June.

Jonnie sleeps every night on Caleb's parents porch.

This truly was one of the most special and unique things I've ever witnessed.  We spent about 20 minutes with Jonnie, and it seemed to go by in the blink of a minute.  If I could've, I would've brought her home with us.  It's easy to see why Jonnie/Ruth has brought so much joy to so many people.  She's a very precious animal.


 

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