You know Dasher, and Dancer, and Prancer and Vixen; Comet, and Cupid, and Donner, and Blitzen. Yes, it is that time of year.

But do you recall . . . how Santa’s reindeer came to be?

Supposedly, Santa’s deer came as a result of the poem, “Twas The Night Before Christmas” written in 1823.

Even though history books report the author as unknown, the poem was most likely written by Clement Clarke Moore or Henry Livingston Jr.

Anyway, this delightful poem gave birth to the reindeer, which carry Santa’s sleigh across rooftops and through the sky.

Another story has been told, that numerous reindeer lived in the snowy Arctic of Norway, and they were the real ancestors to Santa’s deer.

Nevertheless, Santa and his reindeer have been around for centuries.

This week, I am currently visiting Ashley, Cameron, and their five little deer in Idaho. And I have heard there are also some antlered deer in the Targhee Mountains of Idaho.

In fact, my son in law Cameron is headed to catch one, today. Well, what he is going to do with reindeer is beyond me.

To add to the festivity, Cameron, took his son Cade, his father Greg, and brother Troy.

It’s going to be a family affair.

Who would want to traverse a mountain range for 15 miles looking for a deer? It’s cold, rocky, steep, and rough.

Although, the people of Idaho show great pride that they have the real antlered reindeer.

Apparently, they love them, immensely . . . enough, to want to spend time with them in the horrid winter weather.

Why would they want to do such?

Isn’t it simpler to wait until Christmas Eve and watch them cross the sky, with a little old driver so lively and quick?

Nope, Cameron could hardly sleep last night, with anticipation of catching a reindeer, or as he called them, his elk.

I quizzed Cameron about his deer, and this is what I have learned.

The male antlered deer, or elk, is called a bull. The female is a cow and the baby is a calf. Elk run in herds. Only bulls have antlers. A set of antlers on a mature bull can weigh up to 40 pounds. Antlers also have points.

I’m not referring to weight watcher points. However, according to Cameron the more points the better.

I’ve also learned that bulls gather cows and calves into small groups called harems. I can already state I don’t like this idea.

At this point in the bull harem story, the bulls make all kinds of noises. They squeak, bark, chirp, mew, grunt, and bugle.

For what is it worth, I grew up outside of Philly and I have never heard those sounds from any high school kid, during homecoming or dating season.

Yes, folks, Idaho do have reindeer. They look just like Dasher, Dancer and Rudolph. However, in Idaho they are identified as elk.

In fact, Cameron purchased a license for 12-year-old Cade to shop for his own reindeer.

I take it Idaho is pretty protective of their reindeer, as they require a license. Isn’t that sweet, especially at Christmas time?

Well, the reindeer crew left at four this morning for their hunt. Cameron, Cade, Grandpa Greg and Uncle Troy were on a mission, a reindeer expedition.

I sure hope they find one, for the kids. They could tie it up in the backyard until Christmas Eve. May I conclude?

Now Cameron, now Cade, on Greg and on Troy . . .

Do your work, catch a deer, to deliver the toys.

To the top of Targhee, to the top of the wall,

The reindeer will sing, a melodious squall,

It won’t be too easy, as reindeers are shy

And they will, in a harem, dash away ‘neath the sky.

Diane Mack is coordinator of Putting Families First, Jackson County's Family Week Foundation. Email her at