Outdoors Column: On the Move

As the days get shorter and the temperatures drop, the deer start moving. They are looking for love. The mating season for whitetail deer in our area is most intense from mid-October until the middle of November. Deer are running around like they do not have good sense, creating hazardous driving conditions. They are not paying as much attention to their surroundings as they usually do which while making driving dangerous, also makes hunting much better. If a person sees a doe or two run past them, chances are good they are being followed by a buck. If you are driving, beware. If you are hunting, get ready.

 

The first part of last week was windy and damp. Wednesday morning turned off calm and cold. This was the signal for all the deer that had hunkered down for several days to get out and chase one another. As I was getting a cup of coffee that morning, it was just light enough to make out young two bucks fighting in the pasture just below the house. They were more sparring rather than fighting. I could tell, they were fighting to impress but neither of them wanted to get hurt. As it got lighter, I could spot a doe at the edge of the pasture. She, apparently, was the object of their attention.

 

On the other side of the pasture, two large mature bucks appeared just below the dam. They looked at the two young bucks rattling their antlers and circled around the edge, staying out of sight of the fighters. Suddenly, the two big bucks stepped into the clearing near the doe. She stood up and the three of them disappeared into the woods. The two sparing bucks, kept right on fighting, not noticing they had lost their audience.

 

               

Several minutes later, another large buck approached the sparring partners. The smaller of the two, turned and ran away. He knew he was defeated before the fight started. The remaining one of the two, being larger and bolder, decided to stand his ground and fight for the doe that was long gone. He was no match for the intruder that had a couple more years’ experience and a hundred-pound weight advantage. A bit of posturing was followed by a loud crack as their antlers met. One blow almost dropped the smaller deer and he retreated. The older, more mature buck had won the battle, but it was a small victory. The winner’s prize was nowhere to be found.

 

I had to turn from my window and viewing pleasure to go to work. It would have been a great day to be sitting in a tree with my bow, but duty called. As I drove up the driveway, another buck was standing near the end with two does. He showed only mild interest in the vehicle that passed a few yards away. He also was on the move and had other things on his mind.