Friday, November 30, 2012

Deer Tracks

For many years Ocracoke was home to very few mammals. The most noticeable, of course, were human beings. We did have wild horses, quite a few feral cats, nutria, rats & mice, some minks, eventually squirrels, now raccoons, and an occasional bear that would swim over from the mainland.

About 15 or so years ago islanders began reporting deer on the island. I occasionally noticed deer tracks in the National Park, and on one early morning drive to the Hatteras ferry a doe and her fawn bounded across the road in front of my car.

I hadn't noticed evidence of deer, or heard about any sightings, for quite a while. I thought they had vanished. So, on a recent walk in the Park I was intrigued to see numerous deer tracks "down below" (this is anywhere from the edge of the village to Hatteras Inlet). I was not too far from the Pony Pen when I spotted the tracks.

Deer Track

Let me know if any of you have seen deer on the island recently.

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of the day Charles Lindbergh landed on Ocracoke. You can read it here:


  1. Anonymous10:54 AM

    Deer tracks were in my northern garden this morning as well. I believe Santa is on his way.

  2. Anonymous1:00 PM

    So how do the deer get on the island? They don't swim over do they? Dumb question I know but never though deer would be on the island unless someone brought them over and for what reason.

  3. Not a dumb question at all...but no doubt the deer swam over (or were washed here by a storm), just the way the bears ended up here. I'm sure no one brought them here (deer or bears).

    And just to clarify...although it's almost impossible to prove a negative, there are no bears on the island at this time!

  4. Anonymous4:37 PM

    Any idea what became of the bear that "was" spotted on the island, Philip?

  5. We have had a few bears visit Ocracoke in the last quarter of a century. The two large bears that I remember knowing about simply disappeared. They probably left the same way they swimming.

    I once found a bear carcass on a very small patch of sand (a tiny island) on the sound side of the village.