The destructive force of the hunter hit the townspeople of Danby, October 28, especially the John Corey family, with tremendous impact when the town pet, Bambi, a deer named for the storybook counterpart, was killed by the bow and arrow of an out of state hunter.
The tale of Bambi began one early summer day in June, 1961 in the sugar woods behind the old Corey farm house where 17 year old Harris John Corey was all set to threw his dated fishing line into a stream. Suddenly he noticed a short distance away a baby deer curled up in the middle of the moving brook. He lifted the deer up, set the animal on his legs on the, bank, hoping it would run off.
But like a newborn calf, the deer couldn’t stand on its legs which were thin as a pencil, and he sank to the ground with a cry.
Harris also noticed that the hooves were soft as a new-born calf’s and decided
that the deer had been born that day. He had no choice but to carry the fawn home in his arms.
Running from neighbor to neighbor, Mrs. Corey finally found a baby’s bottle.
She soon fed Bambi warm cow’s milk. She presumed it was his first feeding of the day.
“Bambi licked the neck and arms of my son that day; he seemed so pleased that he was in friendly hands and taken care of. Bambi was never frightened, not even in the beginning. He weighed nine pounds.”
From then on, Bambi was a permanent member of the Corey family as well as a familiar, beloved figured throughout the town of Danby.
With a red ribbon would around his neck and bells jingling, Bambi was a friendly companion to the Corey’s herd of cows, following them gaily in the pastures in the morning, keeping them good company throughout the day, and ambling back with them at dusk. After the first week, Bambi gained weight rapidly, almost nine pounds every week for the first month. Mrs. Corey weighed the deer by holding him in her arms on the bathroom scale and subtracting her weight. But soon he grew too large for his weekly weighing schedule.
Bambi had the run of the Corey’s first floor and took long naps on the best braided rugs in the living room. At first he had a tough time keeping his long legs from doing the split on the slippery linoleum in the kitchen, but after a while he learned the trick of holding himself upright until he could reach the safety of the braided rug.
Bambi favorite companions, aside from the cows, were Pepper, the Corey’s friendly beagle, Frisky and Lucifer, the two cats, and High Hope, the family horse.
Bambi loved all the good things in life. Mrs. Corey said his favorite food were the sweet geranium, peony and rose blossoms in her neighbors’ yards, strawberries, sweetened for short cake, bananas and chocolate ice cream. Children everywhere were his companions. And with the long neck, like that of a giraffe, he often got the select items from the overflowing Christmas dinner table, until politely retreated to the outside of the house.
The most exciting event of the year for him was Christmas when he took his pick of the best looking Christmas packages piled up under the tree and untied all the bows. Two packages were completely undone before he was gently led outside and not allowed inside again until the packages were distributed to their rightful owners. But throughout the unwrapping of the gifts his face was seen by everyone inside pressed against the living room window, his nose steaming the glass.