Rusty and Shorty Snyder have owned and operated the Double Diamond Deer Ranch in Cook Forest since 1990 under the slogan BRING YOUR DEER FAMILY TO MEET OUR DEER FAMILY. Rusty has a warm, inviting personality and she loves to share her knowledge about her deer with the public. She has proudly earned the nickname “The Deer Lady.” For over twenty-five years they have raised three generations of deer. Their herd has three color phases of whitetails: brown, white, and piebald. Each year the herd grows with new arrivals when the fawns are born in early June.
“Families and children hear about the Ranch and come to pet and feed the deer. After a fawn has been with its mother for two weeks, then we bottle feed it and let children help. Treat time for the adults is in the evening. Visitors can get a stamp to feed the deer that is valid for the entire day until the bucks shed the velvet off their antlers. All our deer are very gentle during summertime. By early September, the antlers on the bucks are finished growing, and the velvet is rubbed off. Then the rut, the urge to mate, gets real strong. We don’t allow petting during these months. Deer have a different attitude in mating season during the cold months. Deer in the wild live from one to five years of age. Here at the ranch, our deer average more like five to thirteen years. But, our oldest doe Connie lived 17-years, which is quite special. ”-Rusty Snyder.
Visitors not only enjoy seeing and feeding the deer at the ranch, they can also shop in the gift shop, see live rattlesnakes, play a round of Jurassic themed mini-golf, stroll through the Buck Barn with over 100 wildlife mounts on display, and kids can play on the Big Trucks playground.