I make one bad joke in the grocery store about having to take up hunting because of inflation and days later I see a deer with huge antlers crossing a SW street on my way home from a pizza run. I never see antlers. It’s usually females grazing on the sides of roads. This was a reminder of another kind of deer that I’ve been obsessed with for a long time: The concrete lawn deer. This deer has no reason to exist other than a decoy of sorts. Do people really want someone shooting towards their front porch? Or do these deer keep other territorial deer off people’s property? Let’s not overlook them as a mighty fine lawn decoration.
I’ve managed to avoid buying a lawn deer. The closest I’ve come has been the above thrift store craft creation and yet I’ve never been able to get enough of this kind of deer. One lawn deer would be a gateway to a flock, or a herd all collected up in yard space, concrete and bad paint jobs. They are easier pursued by camera as they pose on people’s lawns and never startle. I may never know why people display these creatures. I blew a chance to ask a direct question while in a giant, roadside store in North Carolina, a place known for cheap towels.There in the lawn deer section I noticed a man cradling a find. It was my chance to pick his brain. I anticipated the weird conversation that was sure to ensue so I held back only to be haunted all these years later. Shyness has no place in real journalism. Now I leave it up to the idea that this is how people choose to decorate their yards. I benefit by getting to hunt lawn deer.
This deer hung out in an inaccessible courtyard at George Middle School in St. Johns when I worked there. It’s not like I would have been able to pet the guy, but he remained mysterious from his psychedelic paint job to his unknown origins. It was always great to admire this concrete landmark from various perspectives around the school’s hallway intersections.
Way out in the Beaverton suburbs this poor deer looks abandoned on the other side of the sidewalk and propped up against a tree. She’s beat up, moss covered, ensnared in a tree limb, not quite the cozy confines of other deer but she survives. Perhaps this orphaned looking deer will find a better home someday.
The exact location of these specimens is not clear. Memory is cloudy and nobody really has to know. Our research department is head scratching and full of regret for not using the location setting on the iphone back in the day. Regardless, here’s proof that concrete deer are not just for lawns. Decorating tip: They can be placed near steps or on porches. The configurations have proven to be endless. It is nice to appreciate faded colors and fallen antlers. The state of decay take on lives of their own and builds character.
Deep in the heart of the Arnold Creek neighborhood where things get more rustic the deeper you go, these lawn deer blend in resembling wildlife. They impersonate, posing with chests out and heads held high, scanning their surroundings against the backdrop of a house’s stone exterior.
You can’t make a blanket statement about the way Hillsdale residents dress their lawn deer when you only have one example of a dressed deer. No matter, this interests me. I see so few lawn deer wearing clothing of any kind. This addition is an attempt to liven up the statue with a colorful floral pattern and some flower antlers.
This old mainstay in the Kenton neighborhood stands close to the Buddha mural. It’s a classic with nice coloring and a pleasant face and snout. This deer is hanging out doing its best lawn deer thing which means it looks decorative. Its brown coat mixes in well with its brick surroundings.
Here’s one of my favorite lawn deer in the Portsmouth neighborhood of North Portland. This deer is surrounded by all the trappings of yard decor. The concrete bench, the picket fence, the plantings, the block steps and the windmill in the background. It blends seamlessly to keep the deer half in a natural setting and half in a well decorated naturescape. This setting is pure serenity. I feel it when I remember the times I happened passed this lawn deer.
These are the great decorative elements of Doctor Creature and the gang, the folks who owned the art car The Space Taxi. They had a decoration party/cook out a few years ago. I found them to be warm and friendly and their home was full of tasteful yard decor. This deer in particular seems so serene, oblivious to the nearby skulls indicative of a fate that awaits any of us who aren’t cast in concrete and displayed on someone’s lawn.