Julie Smith of Bloomer was videotaping a fawn swimming along shore at dawn June 30 on Lake Noquebay in Marinette County when a bald eagle swooped in and killed it. The eagle ate the young deer over the next four days. Video courtesy of Julie Smith
Courtesy of Julie Smith

Julie Smith of Bloomer never tires of rising early and sneaking onto the deck outside her family’s house on Lake Noquebay in Marinette County.

Each sunrise is unique, each dawn a genesis. No matter how many times Smith sees bald eagles soaring overhead, great blue herons stalking the shallows, or white-tailed deer leading fawns into the woods, she’s grateful she abandoned her bed.

She can’t predict what she’ll see each morning, and she appreciates that, too. She figures that’s up to nature, and she wouldn’t presume to second-guess it.

And so Smith settled onto her deck about 5:30 a.m. Friday, June 30, knowing it might be the quietest morning she’d witness until all the July Fourth celebrations ended the following Wednesday.

As dawn brightened, she wondered what sights and sounds might soon amaze her. As if on cue, movements along the shoreline caught her attention. As she turned to look, she assumed she would see a Canada goose swimming toward her dock. But no, it was moving too fast and disturbing too much water to be a goose.

A split-second later, she realized it was a white-tailed fawn, swimming just a few feet out from her rip-rapped shoreline. She grabbed her smartphone and started recording a video, thinking she would later show it to her three grandkids while teasing them for sleeping in.

She recorded about 25 seconds of video as the fawn paddled swiftly along the shoreline. After pausing to save some storage space in her phone, she resumed recording the fawn’s swim. She assumed it would swim until reaching the end of the rip-rap, knowing it would be difficult to negotiate…