AN UNUSUALLY sociable deer has been winning friends at Brokenhurst Manor Golf Club after approaching players and staff in recent weeks.
The fawn, which has been photographed nuzzling visitors, was spotted by club member Jeni Turville as she played a round with friends last Tuesday.
She said: “We were on the 13th fairway when it just came running over and started nuzzling us. It was then suckling my trousers and also approached one of the friends I was playing with.
“It was very interested in our bags, so we thought perhaps it was looking for food.
“It was a really lovely experience and a superb feeling to be so close to it – I work at New Park where there are many deer but they are normally very timid and wary of people.
“Its behaviour was certainly out of the ordinary.”
Jeni, who usually plays at Brokenhurst Manor once or twice a week, added: “The course is surrounded by the Forest so wildlife does come in. We often see herds of deer but not ever this close.
“The fawn didn’t seem to be ill or injured – it was very bouncy and happy. But obviously it was hungry as that’s why it approached us.
“We couldn’t see its mother anywhere so maybe something had happened to her – or maybe she was just hiding and looking on from a distance.”
Brokenhurst Manor Golf Club manager Kevin Light confirmed the young deer had also approached other golfers and members of the course maintenance team.
He said: “Our green staff have also reported that a young friendly deer has approached them several times over the six weeks.
“Our core staff are out checking and maintaining the course every day and they have not raised any concerns over its welfare.”
A spokesperson for Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust said: “Sadly it’s quite likely that this young deer has lost its mother, although by now it might be trying to suckle more as a habit than necessity as they are usually born in early summer and are weaned within a few months.
“If people do encounter a young deer in this way they should calmly walk away and not pet it.”