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Family watches deer give birth from Okotoks backyard

A Southern Alberta family had the rare chance of witnessing a deer giving birth - in their backyard.
The two animals resting in the area behind Bruce's home. (Photo submitted)

OKOTOKS, Alta. —  Amy Bruce and her two sons witnessed a deer giving birth from their Okotoks backyard earlier this month. 

Kaleb and Tyler were the first to encounter the deer when they took their dogs into the backyard on the afternoon of June 12. Kaleb recognized what was happening and went back inside to get his mother. 

“As soon as he ran inside, he [Kaleb] said, 'There's a deer having a baby.' And I was a little bit in disbelief and I grabbed my phone and pushed the video record button as I was running out the back door,” said Bruce. 

Bruce, who began homeschooling her children at the beginning of the pandemic, took the situation as a real-life teaching moment for them. 

“They were super excited and also a little bit grossed out and I was just just trying to remind them that this is completely natural and all of this is supposed to happen," Bruce said.

She was surprised at how quickly the event unfolded and was delighted she got to share that moment with her children, telling them how rare it is to see such a thing happen. 

“I have never seen a wild animal just out there giving birth. I mean, we've all seen cows and other farm animals give birth but to see a wild deer just hanging out right there and having a fawn, was all pretty exciting,” she said. 

Bruce said her children were confused at first with what was happening, but the experience was very pleasant and they were thrilled to have seen it.

“I really believe that it's a memory that my children will carry with them for the rest of their life,” Bruce said.

According to Bruce, the deer gave birth within minutes and hung around the yard just west of Beatrice Wyndham Park afterwards. 

“The head and the front legs were already out and she did not take very long at all to give birth,” Bruce said. 

The deer cleaned up the fawn which was standing on its own about 15 minutes later. The family then decided to stay inside and give the two animals some space. The deer and fawn were gone before the storm hit later that day.