Category Archives: Deer

Deer Tracks Vanishing

Neighbors surround our place and new arrivals have built homes and constructed fences and water gaps.  Changing things, the habitat for wild things, most of all.  Not any of the change has been good for me.  Oh, I can look closer at settlement patterns and see loneliness overcome, socializing more frequent and assistance rendered when needed — but I would not depend on it.

Deer tracks vanish.  The fox are gone.  Wildlife disappears.  Within seven years since our arrival here in the country, human settlement has pushed wildlife to an endangered status on our place.

Yesterday, I scouted the south side of The Grove for deer track.  I found none.  Since 2003, I have found deer track every day I have looked on the south side of The Grove.  Not yesterday.  The new neighbors to the southeast cut and burned brush that harbored deer.  For what purpose?  Better view from their house?  To loose their dogs into the clearings for exercise?  To give horses a open area for turnout?  A person can use their property as they see fit — an English-American axiom.

And, to the west, our neighbor has permitted two more families to reside on their place.  Target practice occurs.  The creek bank and bed where shots are fired in practice are pathways for deer migrating through our place and onto adjacent ranches.  Last Sunday, I stopped counting the rounds fired in the creek bed.  A person can use their property as they see fit — an English-American axiom.

In 2003, I regularly saw a herd of twelve-to-fifteen deer migrate and browse in our pasture.  Our farrier, Allen Gaddis of Wyoming, marveled at the deer on a misty morning as he trimmed hooves.  Deer used to graze with our horses.  Last year, I saw no more than three deer in a grouping.

I will go tomorrow to the north side of The Grove and seek deer track.  I will take the camera.  If there is track, I want a record in the future of how things used to be and how people use their property as they see fit — an English-American axiom.

I may post photographs.  I may not.

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Filed under Deer, Life Out of Balance

Gray Sky With Duck

Ducks Flying Over Flying Hat, January 7, 2010

After feeding the horses, I go farther into the pasture south of the arena to check on corn I have scattered on the ground for deer in the grove and dry creek bed.

Half of the corn I dispersed last night has been consumed and deer hooves have stabbed the ground in delight or hunger.  Leaving the deer prints behind, I turn north on the pasture road and drive past the stock pond next to the Blue farm, the family east of us.

I frighten nine ducks that take to the air from the pond, shaming me that I had disturbed their morning feed.  I open the door of the pickup and snap a shot of their flight upwards, then circling back to the pond.  A momentary interruption at their table I was.  Tomorrow I will walk to the deer-stabbing feed ground in the grove.  Better for me.  Better for the ducks.

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Notes:

11/18/2010.  I am going to set up a duck blind.  I have cedar posts and brush that will allow me to stand behind and photograph.  I hope to identify the ducks that come to the pond by the end of the Winter season.  That is my intention.  Not a promise to anyone, but it is my intent.

11/15/2010.  Two days ago as I drove to the Grove to photograph our solitary cottonwood, I scared at least fifteen ducks from the pond.  I had forgotten about them in my mission to write about the cottonwood.

7/30/2010.  A pair of heron fly often to the pond.  They give one call when they leave the pond — just one call.

3/19/2010.  Ducks were on the pond this morning.  A blue heron flies to the pond late in the afternoon.


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Filed under Cedar, Deer, Ducks, Flying Hat Ranch, Juniper

Wood Not Splitting

This morning at almost 7:30 o’clock, I heard a sharp, loud crack, towards the south pasture.  I thought an oak tree in the grove had split its trunk.

It was not the splitting of a large oak tree, but the sharp, hard retort of a deer rifle.  To the southeast is the Hall place, to the due south is the Bryant place, and west is the Dooley land.  I could not determine the precise location of the wood-not-splitting crack.

Since moving here in 2003, I have seen the deer population go down significantly.  The Halls to the southeast have cleared their ten acres and, thus, removed the brush for deer.  The Dooleys have a deer stand within fifty yards of my Well House Corral.  The Bryants have had as many as four or five deer stands to the south of the native-grass pasture.  The harvest of deer has been devastating.  I now see two deer occasionally, where six years ago, I saw a herd of twelve to fifteen regularly.

After the rifle report this morning, I put on my red jacket, fed the horses, and then walked over our fifty-three acres to see the killing fields around us.  Deer tracks in our creek indicated two, maybe three deer, had passed.  I walked the creek bed, then over to the pasture of gramma, Johnson, and blue-stem grasses.  I saw no hunters, but a half a mile away a white pickup was tucked up against a grove on the Fulfer place.  That was the place of the Wood Not Splitting.

The hunter’s white pickup was new, neither rusted nor bleached by the sun.  The chrome shined.  Was it necessary to kill deer for food this Sunday morning?  To rouse me and my wife with your wood-not-splitting crack?  I’m not so sure I would be the Gentle Stockman if you met me today.

I say again, I have no argument with those that need food to live, to harvest deer for their table, to take a kill with respect.  But, for those that kill to gainsay an image of Western toughness or ruggedness, I think their behavior is violent upon the deer, their friends, and themselves.  There is redemption for the blood sportsman.  Go into the field without a weapon and sit.  Sit quietly for a day and see the stag and doe dash through the brush, across the pasture, and out of sight.  Sit so quietly that you see the deer graze, browse, and lick their young.  Then, if you are not redeemed after seeing these things, you are lost.

The word “deer” is connected to the verb, “to breathe,” in the Indo-European hypothetical.  Harvesting deer without respect cuts off breathing, the deer as well as your own.

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Filed under Deer, Flying Hat Ranch