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Friday, April 4, 2014

A bad week for anthropomorphism


I first saw the fawns last fall, September or October. They were not twins, and not adopted by a deer herd. I saw them almost daily on the golf course, where they had access to food. They bedded separately and never were among the small herds scattered over the golf course all winter.  One stayed far up on the back nine and the other stayed close to the last spruce on Truxell Road, before the county road.



This one was “my” deer, and I looked around for it when I went by. One morning I saw it standing on the frozen lake, drinking from a small hole under the willow tree. I swung around at the end of the road and crept back to take a picture, but it looked when I stopped the car, and bolted.



And so we went on, until Monday morning. “My” deer was a pile of leg bones, a rib cage, and a pelt, under the last spruce tree on Truxell. I swung back for another look; it must be a couple of large geese, I told myself. But no, it was a deer, the size of a small pony. I made another U turn, pulled in close, and wafted the little guy a good bye.



Up at the head of the course I pulled in, found the owner and asked him to have the little guy moved away. The owners are grumpy folks, and I was dismissed. Monday afternoon, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, this morning, the little guy remained scattered under his spruce. In fairness to mother nature, there was a little less of him every day. This morning the owner was pulling out of the lot; I pulled in, blocked him and asked him again to gather up the bones and hide. The little fellow was gone when I came home.

We have many coyotes in the valley, some wolves and an occasional bobcat seen on the game cams. I couldn't imagine any one of them big enough to take down a sturdy young deer the size of a small pony. These two guys lost their spots over the winter, and grew a little bigger. A diet of twigs, bark and pine needles is rough, but I figured it would carry them through to the green grass and berries of summer.

I asked a park ranger friend her opinion, which was the winter was prolonged and the snow cover impenetrable for long periods. Even a reasonably healthy youngster sheltering alone was an easy target for most of the park’s four legged predators. Seeing him for so many months was a feat on the deer’s part, she thought.

I won’t stop looking out for deer on the roads; it’s the best way not to hit them. From now on, though, they may all look alike to me.


25 comments:

  1. On the farm, after the hunters had left, yearlings were often left to their own resources. While it made us sad, we knew this was life, part of death.

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  2. I don't know what the mortality rate is for fawns and yearlings in your area, here in MT it's pretty high. We have the same type of winters, and also have wolves, coyotes and mountain lions, all of which can pretty easily take down deer. A pack of coyotes are quite effective in bringing down even yearling deer.

    Yeah, the food chain can be pretty indifferent to anthropomorphism.

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  3. They look so cute that it is difficult not to anthropomorphise them, Joanne. I'm sorry it ended like that.

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  4. It's the bit where the owl tells him what's what that gets me every time.

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  5. Well that's pretty sad but it is nature.

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  6. I am so sorry. Yes it is part of life, but it is a sadness just the same.

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  7. Again, the circle of life.He died so another could live. It only ticks me off when humans do it.
    Jane x

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  8. Hari OM
    I see nothing here of you making a human of this deer. Only affection for its presence which built attachment. For the severing of that I feel for you. YAM xx

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  9. Oh how sad. But unfortunately this is how mother nature works. I lived for a winter in the deep country of upper Michigan. I saw so many that could not make it through the winter. Not only deer but other critters. We are out of sync with nature now -- the predator/prey pattern is disturbed. Hunters kill mothers and babies have to fend for themselves -- from birds to large prey such as moose where my daughter lives in Utah. The animals are struggling more as predator populations invade their territories. Even trees have large new groups of predators. I could go on but I won't. thoughtful post. -- barbara

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  10. A post-script: I saw the other young one way up on the back nine this afternoon. I rolled down the window and yelled at him to stay there.

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  11. I know how you feel, Joanne, as I get involved in the well being of all the animals in my woods. Nature can be cruel, and it is hard to accept when you have made a bond ( even if it is one sided) with them. I hope the other one makes it and enjoys his first summer.

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  12. You are wise to look for them. It is sad when the herd gets too big for the food supply. Of course this longer winter this year was probably the reason.

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  13. Sad, Joanne. I love your photos. They are precious.

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  14. When we share a place with a wild creature it does become a friend in some ways. So sorry your deer friend met such a sad fate. Yes, tell that other one to stay safe.

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  15. Aww, Joanne. I'm sorry. I was just thinking about the deer close to us today. I've had to consciously make myself not think about the fate of wildlife because I would be undone if I let it all in. Nature may be beautiful but she has her dark side.

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  16. This is so sad! I know it "happens" with nature, but still it is so sad.

    betty

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  17. This is too sad Joanne, he survived for so long, another month or two and he would have made it.

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  18. Poachers shot a famous local stag .. he ran & was found drowned in a pond. What a waste.

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  19. oh how sad he needed to move around more for more food to forage, without his herd he was lost, in california we had the opposite, huge deer herds getting fat from eating from well planted gardens

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  20. Aww Joanne, you've broken my heart, here. Poor wee fellow. I'm so sorry he met an early demise. But thank goodness you have photos. He was young, he was adorable, and he'll live on through your love and your blog. oxoxo

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  21. Reading your blog post made me feel sad. Your winter has been relentless this year.

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  22. Hi Joanne, just stopping by to say how delightful your blog is. Thanks so much for sharing. I have recently found your blog and am now following you, and will visit often. Please stop by my blog and perhaps you would like to follow me also. Have a wonderful day. Hugs, Chris
    http://chelencarter-retiredandlovingit.blogspot.ca/

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  23. I was amazed this week on my trip to Tennessee how many deer carcass were at the side of the road. And how many new fawns were out with mama on the side of the road. It is what it is.

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