Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Where the Wild Things Are

We live in whitetail deer country, where the land was naturally forested before settlers came to farm. While farming hasn't disappeared from this patch of subtropical west Georgia, the forest has grown back more than it's been held at bay. People like having trees, especially if it means less to mow.

And you know how I feel about mowing.

Most of our home acres is wooded, as is the case with most of the neighboring properties. We hear owls sometimes at night, and I've seen coyotes skulking across open spaces. And we often see whitetail deer.

Most often what we've seen this summer have been two does and three spotted fawns. We've seen hints that one of the does is mother to two of the fawns, suggesting the third belongs to the other doe. We don't know for sure but we think one of the does was the fawn we saw last year and that the other is her mother.

They've all become pretty brave about being near the house, as a picture in a previous post suggests. Given the usual range of whitetail deer I can't say whether they hang around mostly on our property but we're definitely on their regular circuit.

Years from now when we resettle out west the most common deer will be muleys, mainly because whatever place we settle on won't likely have much in the way of woodlands, even if the surroundings aren't agricultural. In fact we'd be more likely to see antelope than deer. Either way their range would be such that we probably won't see the same animals as regularly as we do here.

They'll most likely be farther away too, but that'll mean more opportunities. Especially the antelope, which are almost as common out there as pigeons in a city park.

Update, Wednesday, just after 9:00 a.m.: We just had two whitetail bucks venture into the front yard, nervously looking around. One had a fairly small rack but the other's was approaching respectable. This isn't the first time I've seen antlers on deer around here, but it's not common -- or at least it hasn't been.

Bucks wandering around together is a clear sign that the rut hasn't started, as if it still being August weren't. Once the pheromones start flying bucks that were friends become rivals and won't be getting along at all.

Anyway, Hartford and his little buddy went back into the woods after just a few minutes.

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