One late-summer Friday, I was relaxing with a glass of wine after work when I noticed a buck grazing on my back hill. I immediately grabbed my camera to take a few shots.
As I was taking a few pictures, I noticed he wasn’t alone, so I spent a good 30 minutes just drinking wine, watching, and taking a few photos of them grazing in my yard until they eventually moved on down the driveway. It was a beautiful evening.
On at least two occasions, I was sitting on my front porch when I saw a doe cross the street right in front of me as if she had just walked out of my side yard. She would cross over and walk along the hay line and up the hill towards another forest. Once she was out of sight, a buck could be seen following her exact trail as he sniffed it out. It was pretty cute.
Right around the beginning of fall just after dusk one evening, I was walking down my hallway when I glanced out the back window. Petal, the goat, had not yet been re-homed so at first I thought I saw her grazing on the other side of the fence, but I did not see any horns. Just then, I realized there were two smaller animals grazing in my planter boxes. It turned out to be a doe and her two babies. To be fair, these babies did not have spots so they were probably more “youth”. In any case, it was adorable so I watched them graze until they were out of sight down the driveway.
The dogs, again
You might have read in a previous post about the dogs who chased the goats. Lately, they tend to be a regular topic on the infrequent occasions that I speak to my neighbors. On one occasion, a neighbor mentioned that her husband had seen the dogs “running a deer”. For those of you unfamiliar, deer can be run to death. Hunters do NOT like this because it takes away from their game for the year. Just after that conversation, I had seen both dogs run out of my forest down the back hill as if in play mode, but I never saw if they were chasing anything. In any case, I had that on my mind most recently when I was drinking my coffee watching for the birds one morning before work.
I saw the two young deer grazing on my hill. My first thought was “where is their mom?” That question has yet to be answered (Did the dogs chase her to death? Was she hunted? Has she turned them out?). But they are not too young and can therefore probably take care of themselves and each other, at least I hope. While it seemed a little late in the morning for deer to be out grazing in “public”, I watched them graze until they left. They stayed at the top of my hill and then returned to the forest rather than following the driveway as all the other deer had done before. I am glad they feel safe enough to come out and graze but I was worried about the dogs coming to chase them the whole time I was watching.
As if on cue, by lunchtime I received a text from the dogs’ owner. Both dogs had run off earlier in the week, but only the dark one (the one they’ve had for a while) returned. She was concerned that one of the other neighbors might have “taken action” with the other dog, who is notably more aggressive toward animals. I had not seen either of them since I saw them running down my hill and told her so, but I do partially suspect that the more aggressive husky might have been dealt with as aggressively as he chases/chased the local animals.
So it seems unlikely that the two young deer will be bothered by those dogs anymore and part of me is relieved by that. I hope to see them again soon and often. It is usually the highlight of my day when I get to watch those beautiful animals graze on my hill.
And now hunting season is upon us. While I love the taste of venison, I do not love the thought of killing and shooting a deer (unless it’s life or death or zombie apocalypse, of course) nor do I cherish the thought of field dressing one.
I absolutely respect the right to do so, as long as the hunt is for more than just trophies. But what beguiles me is how the rules have changed so much since I was a child. It seemed to me that back then you could kill just about as many buck as you wanted, but you could only kill doe on Doe Day which was once per season.
But the rules I just looked up for Tennessee seem quite the opposite of that. Did I read it wrong or does it say that you can only kill 2 buck per season but you can kill 3 non-antlered deer PER DAY during the other parts of the season?
I hope the deer quickly learn that they have a safe place to hide on my property… as long as the hunters respect my property lines.