Outdoors Column: Too Much Fun

When the weather turned cold, we brought our trail cameras inside. The cold saps the energy out of the batteries much faster than during warm or moderate weather. During the last couple of weeks, we have seen so much wildlife, we decided to put them back out for a while, just to see what was wandering around in the woods. We should have some good pictures if what we have seen in the yard is any indication.

Saturday morning, I glanced out of kitchen window toward the garden. Three bucks were strolling by the garden as though they owned the place. They were young deer, I would guess two three-year-olds and a two-year-old. The older two had almost identical medium sized ten point racks. By next year, they will be big ten point racks. The smaller deer had a little basket rack, but it two or three years, he may be a trophy, also.

The three bucks grazed around the yard for a while and finally jumped the fence and went down to the food plot. The young buck chewed on an okra seed pod while one of the older bucks scratched his head on one of my battered little pecan trees. The other deer pawed around trying to dig up a turnip. We watched them and only lost interest in what they were doing when an eagle landed in the big oak tree out front. He landed on a branch near the top looking out over the lake. Several crows flew around doing their best to harass him. He had no trouble ignoring them.

Sunday morning, we got two cameras ready and headed out. The dogs were ecstatic that we were going. I think they get cabin fever just like people do. As we went across the dam, the dogs ran well ahead. When we got to the timber, they fell behind while checking every tree for squirrels and every bush for rabbits. When we neared the place we planned to place the first camera, seven deer ran across the trail. That was an encouraging sign. We put the second camera on a tree near where the horse’s salt block had been last summer. There were tracks everywhere and a hole was being dug in the salt laced soil. They would be back. On the trip back, we went by one of the food plots that was mostly turnips. A few weeks ago, it was loaded with turnips. Now almost all the turnips are gone and the ground in the area looked like it had been plowed. Deer apparently swarmed into the area during the extremely cold weather and gorged themselves. They may or may not have needed the extra nourishment but they certainly did enjoy themselves.

On the way back, we stopped to saw up and remove a tree that had blown down across the trail. When we got ready to leave, both dogs jumped in the Ranger and wanted a ride back to the house. I think their lack of activity during the last few weeks has taken a toll on their endurance. They had run all they could run and had all the fun they could stand.