Three deer crossed the ice in the Cove today. Most of the deer in our area has a yearly ritual of escaping the deep snow in the highlands and make their way to our homestead to yard for the winter. This safe haven provides a bountiful amount of rose hips, tall grass and an apple orchard in which to feed.
As spring progresses and the snow melts, our lawn right next to our house is the first to be exposed. During these melting days, the deer moves back and forth from our lower field to right beside our house to eat the new grass. For hours everyday we watch them feed and playfully jump on each other. Some of the wrestling looks playful while other times it seems like they are establishing their pecking order.
Their stay here is important for their survival. Spring can be brutal and deadly for dear. My friend Hartie, who is now 83, was one of the best forest ranger around. He wrote books on the subject of ruff grouse and white tail deer. Him and the doctor he worked with found that the mature deer don’t mind the dry cold of winter as long as there is a foot of snow on the ground. Laying on the bare frozen ground is hard on them. The spring rains and the flash freezes is a very difficult time that can be deadly to deer. If the deer gets wet from the rain then the temperature drops below freezing it reeks havoc on them. If it is a very cold wet spring, the placentas don’t develop in many doe so few fawns are born. If a new born fawn gets wet, then the temperature drops below freezing, they frequently perish. A cruel tuff life indeed.
During this critical time of spring, it’s important to their survival to have this safe haven. For all intensive purposes they own our homestead for these two or three months and we disturb them the least we can.
After watching these beautiful creatures for hours a day, we develop a liking for them. When the situation in the woods improves, they look through our patio window, say their goodbyes and thanks for the use of the farm and they disappear into the vastness off the highlands and the shelter of the deep woods.
We seldom see any deer until winter. This helps protect them from the hunters. If they were in our fields during hunting season they would be sitting ducks. Some of the hunters in our area have little or no regard and they would be in our field killing every last one of them for bragging rights. I was a hunter myself and don’t begrudge responsible hunting but I am glad that these deer, for the most part, are far in the woods and dispersed in the vastness of the highlands for most of the deer hunting season.
My wife is a crazy lover of animals. She regards these deer as her pets as they look her in the face, feet from our patio window. I suspect she will have the gun out the window if she catches a hunter shooting on our homestead. If I mysteriously disappear from this blog, you will know what happened to me. Lol