A look at Leland: The setting for a white deer story
Leland is located 15 miles from Sauk City, Wisconsin, 12 miles from Prairie du Sac, 17 miles from Spring Green, 20 miles from Reedsburg, 10 miles from Plain, 9 miles from Loganville, and 20 miles from Baraboo. It is on no main roads and between no main cities, and getting anywhere from Leland is neither fast nor direct–it is in the middle of a very beautiful nowhere.
Leland has 20 houses, two taverns, and one church. A sturdy dam backs up nearby Honey Creek to form the Leland Pond. The adjacent park, owned by the Honey Creek Rod and Gun club, is perhaps one of the best maintained private parks around. It is a favorite stop and destination for fall tourists and summer motorcycle rides, including the Sauk Prairie MDA Harley Freedom Ride and the twice annual Slimey Crud Motorcycle Run. In the winter, it is a popular stop for snowmobilers.
Leland is known for its incredibly scenic bluffs–the tallest and most prominent being nearby Eagleshead Rock on Hwy. PF, and Tower Rock, a few miles to the east. In the winter, even more bluffs appear in the Leland valley as bare branches open the view to additional rock walls and outcroppings.
Leland is on the southwest edge of the Baraboo Range, an ancient eroded mountain range which is covered by one of the largest hardwood forests in Wisconsin. Just a very short drive from Leland is Natural Bridge State Park and three state natural areas (Hemlock Draw, Pine Hollow, and the Honey Creek Preserve), making it a prime spot for both visitors and wildlife.
Whether its this unique habitat or something else, Leland seems to attract the unusual. Bald eagles are a common year-round sight and nest only a “stones throw” from town. In 2010, a sow black bear and two cubs were believed to be the first permanent black bear residents in southern Wisconsin. A passing cougar was sighted near Leland two years ago, and another one was sighted last fall and photographed on a trail cam just this spring.
And, of course, Leland has its “ghost” deer. They inhabit the hills, valleys, and fields. They hide in the woods (not so well in the summer), they stroll through the fields of corn and alfalfa, jump the fences, mingle with the brown deer, and sometimes stand around long enough to be watched or photographed. They make Leland unique. People are absolutely wowed when they first see one of these deer. What’s really interesting is that even after years of watching these deer, people are STILL wowed by their presence.