As monster flames exploded near Cle Elum in the Taylor Bridge Fire, chewing up everything in their path, people were stunned, and so was the wildlife. Deer suddenly found themselves without food.
Wildlife normally runs from humans. But when a group of deer came in contact with some firefighters from Eastside Fire and Rescue, something interesting happened.
Cody Ramstad was working the fire lines when he spotted four deer. Three of them seemed skittish, but over the course of a few days, a female deer began to warm up to him.
“So she started meandering over. I had an apple and my knife out and started cutting chunks and offered one out and she walked right out and took it,” said Ramstad.
She turned out to be a nursing deer that ate just about everything.
“Oat bars, apples, she loved bananas and apple juice. She loved our organic apple juice,” said Ramstad. “She'd come up, eat and go back to the hills. We'd hear the fawn calling her while she's over with us. She’d go over and feed and come right back to us.”
The doe got so comfortable; she even took a piece of apple right out of Ramstad’s mouth.
“I was cutting apple chunks and pretty soon, both my hands were full, so I just stuck a couple in my mouth, and she came right up and I was like ‘Is she really going to do this?’ In the picture, I'm kinda leaning back like that and sure enough, she took it out of my mouth.”
Ramstad knows there might be people who question whether he was doing the right thing.
“Under normal circumstances, I wouldn't actively seek out wildlife to try and hand feed it. That's not something we prescribe to, but this was a unique case," he said.
"I think this boiled down to her instinct to needing to care for her fawn, was the overriding factor of her coming up to us."