By Michael Abeyta
FORT COLLINS, Colo. (CBS4) – Horsetooth Store, Gas, and RV Park is nestled in the foothills outside of Fort Collins. It’s not uncommon to see wildlife in the area, but Lori Jones was surprised to learn just how close a family of deer was willing to get.
Jones has been working at the store for about a year and she knows pretty much everyone that stops in.
“We get to know them pretty quickly,” she said.
A few weeks ago, however, she was a little surprised by who walked in.
“Mama came in the front door and I kind of did a double take,” Jones said.
“Mama” is a doe. Jones has seen her around the store with her young, but usually outside. On this particular day, Mama had other plans.
“She came on in and I just started laughing,” said Jones.
She tried shooing her off, but it didn’t work.
“She didn’t really regard me at all. She was looking at the sunglasses. Then she looked at the ice cream and over at the chips,” she said.
Despite store policy prohibiting feeding the deer — and against her better judgement — Lori Jones did the only thing she could think of.
“I got a peanut bar and backed her out and took her down to the lower field.” She added “You can’t let them run all over your store.”
Later, back in the shop with a good story and a few pictures to prove it, Lori went back to work.
“I thought I was home free,” she admitted.
She began stocking shelves and getting ready to do inventory. Then she looked back up.
“There she was in the store and again I started laughing,” Jones said. “And there were her babies in the background.”
Once again with a peanut bar in hand, she showed Mama and her babies away from the store.
Since then, Mama’s family has been back a few more times, and Lori says she’s learned her lesson the hard way. It’s one, in fairness, she already knew.
“You should never feed the deer because they’re going to keep coming back,” said Jones.
“Our rule at the campground and on the store property is ‘Don’t feed the deer at all.’ We see them, we enjoy them, but we don’t need them to come in the store.”
Colorado Parks and Wildlife agrees that you shouldn’t feed deer. It’s actually illegal because they will become dependent on human assistance. They add that deer are wild animals and should not be eating human food, instead they should be eating natural food they find in the wild. They also say deer can carry diseases so you shouldn’t interact with them.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife suggests shooing them off or, if you don’t feel comfortable doing that, give them a call and they’ll send someone out to help you get rid of the animal.
Lori Jones is just happy her pictures have been able to make people smile.
“It was quite a unique day,” she said.