Thursday, March 5, 2009
Late Winter Surprise
Finally a day fit for an outside walk. Overnight the temperature fell into the low teens covering the car with frost. By early afternoon the thermometer registered in the forties. Outside was the only place to be. I followed a deer trail up the south side of the gravel bank hill. Walking the deer trail allows one to miss most of the blackberry cane scratches. This deer skeleton was next to the trail at the top of the hill. Since the antlers are still attached, this deer went down in the fall. There are two likely causes of death. Bucks fight each other for the favor of the does. A horn wound to the side is possible. An incompletely skilled hunter could also have caused this death. We do not hunt but we do allow one hunter to thin the herd. Many hunt on land adjacent to ours.
In any event the deer became food for many creatures. Only bones and scraps of fur remain. The air is tinged with the smell of death. This was an eight point buck. I have found two other buck skulls over the years. All of these skulls were from bucks with eight points. Does that coincidence measure the fertility of the area? Available forage will support the development of average sized bucks but is it insufficient to grow trophy deer? The deep glacial gravel at or just below the surface supports scraggly plant growth.