Thursday, May 2, 2013

The Silence of the Land

Sitting at the computer yesterday afternoon staring through the west windows when, like magic, a deer walked into my line of vision, not twenty-five feet from the house.  Then another, and another, and finally, one more. 

Where were those dopey dogs, I wondered, but not a single growl or "arf" out of either one to scare the deer away.

Cautiously, the deer advanced and I could see they were all young bucks, their antlers just beginning to emerge.  They drank from the giant mud puddle at the bottom of the new driveway, then walked to the edge of the rubble strewn mess of what is left of the old house.  All of them stood staring at the carnage, sniffing the air.  I wondered what they made of that smelly black hole suddenly ripped into their environment.  Satisfied there was nothing for them, they made their silent, cautious way across the culvert and on down the creek.

I welcome the deer.  After the gray bunnies made their great escape, I witnessed one of the bunnies greet a deer by almost touching noses.  They spent some time together in the grass in approximately the same vicinity as the four bucks traveled yesterday.  A deer trail must exist past my house.  I have seen a doe with her fawn at different times as well. 

During hunting season, wounded deer come somewhere close to my home to die, based on the bones the dogs find to drag up.  I also find deer skeletons with regularity in the pasture.  I say a prayer of forgiveness over the bones, just in case it was a drunk "hunter" high on meth, Budweiser and Skoal that wounded the deer with his crack marksmanship. 

I am thankful that the deer nation survives.  They are welcome in this bend of the creek.    


Kathy said...

I so appreciate your care for the deer, and your prayers of forgiveness for the dumb 'hunters' of the world. I probably should be asking forgiveness for my idiot neighbors, as I find the shoe on the other foot for me, chasing the deer out of my city yard, lured there by the cursed woman up one block and the blasted man down one block who feed them. It is because of presumably well-meaning people like my neighbors that deer wander the city streets, forsaking their proper forage, their numbers unthinned by natural predators, and looked on as hoofed locusts by all the other neighbors trying to grow food or just beautiful flowers despite the beautiful but destructive pests created by ignorant humans.

Deer, being ruminants, do not digest the grains contained in so-called 'deer chow', widely sold by our feed stores, any more than can cattle digest the grain they are fed to fatten them up for market. According to our department of fish and wildlife (which begs people not to feed deer), eating such fare prevents the annual shift of digestive enzymes programmed to occur for deer each fall, to allow them to digest tougher, more fibrous browse during the winter months. Cut off the junk food and these deer may go hungry and starve.

As it is, they stumble around the snowy streets all winter, bedding down in people's yards, instead of making their former ancient migration out to the drier, less snowy desert lands to the east of town. Oh yes, there are houses there as well, now.

And so I am sending you as many of our local beggars as I can catch. Be ready. There are a lot!

Jackie said...

If I had a beautiful garden, I probably wouldn't be so happy to see deer in my yard. I also do not have any problem with hunters who know what they are doing but I hate the drunk sport hunters who have no compunction wounding a deer and leaving it to a slow death. The feed sold for wild deer is to lure them in so they can be killed easier by the drunk sport hunters! If those boys want something to do, they can come over to my house and kill mice. I don't care if they blow them away with their entire arsenal of NRA approved hand-cannon. (My hypocrisy is infinite!)