When people ask where they can find Key Deer, the locally produced small white tailed deer now native to the Lower Keys, I send them to No Name Key. And here they are:
Let's face it: watching deer, even small ones, graze is a bit like watching paint dry but one feels a certain obligation to stop and stare so I did and here are my pictures:
You aren't supposed to feed them or molest them or run them over with your car. The Key Deer refuge people keep score and you will see notices about how many they have found dead. Occasionally people decide to shoot them and even eat them but for the most part they are essentially outdoor pets.
People whose gardens they wreck tend to dislike them and refer to them disparagingly as stunted white tailed deer and they were nearly wiped out sixty years ago but thanks to endangered status and the institution of a refuge they are now doing quite well and some can be seen even on Cudjoe Key occasionally. They can swim and they do sometimes to establish themselves on islands away from Big Pine Key.
The best story I've read of how Jack Watson saved the Key Deer I have linked here. Much funnier a story than you might expect: LINK
Crossing the bridge back to Big Pine Key under a blazing evening sun. The bridge leads to No Name Pub a place to drink beer, eat pizza and reflect on Key Deer if you feel so inclined.