Thursday, 6 November 2014

It's deer hunting season -guns began Monday night at dusk

Wednesday morning, for the 2nd morning in a row, I saw a doe and fawn. As they were moving about the yard, nibbling on the grass, the fawn tried to nurse. Momma had no time for that nonsense!

This is the season when the deer at most active. Running from hunters, gathering in winter yards, finding increasingly scarce sources of food. We haven't seen them too much, there is still food about. and they are spread out in the forest. It is early in the rutting season, as well. They begin the mating process in November, hormones are beginning to flow! Apparently, you can see the bucks rubbing antlers on tree trunks. Also, they urinate on their tarsal glands, in the back knees. Who knew?

I understand those who hunt for food, sport – not so much. I  hunt my critters with a camera, not a gun or a crossbow. I can agree to disagree with my neighbours.
One of CBC Ottawa's on-air staff, mentioning traffic issues due to the deer wandering on highways,  wondered 'when deers [sic] will be hibernating.' Sigh.

There is a deer carcass in our ditch right now. The wolves and coyotes aren't hungry enough right now to get rid of it. I'll keep watching it. I haven't seen the vultures at it, either. They'll be moving on south soon, too. I hope someone cleans it up!


We loved watching our buddy, Tigger, from 2010, when he was a fawn, to 2012. We watched him grow from a bouncy boy to a nicely decorated oldster, for deer live, on average, age 3 - 5. We haven't seen him since. You can tell the bucks apart from their antlers. They grow much the same each year, adding as they go.

Deer antlers

All done!
Unlike horns, antlers are true bone and are composed primarily of calcium and phosphorus and are deciduous. Deciduous means antlers are dropped or shed and grown anew each and every year. They grow from pedicels located on the frontal bone of the skull. The pedicels which begin growing at a couple months of age in buck fawns provide the base from which the antler will grow. The small hair covered bumps on a six month old male fawn’s head (a button buck) are the pedicels. They are not antlers. Infantile antlers or actual hardened antlers on a buck fawn have not been documented in Virginia but have been reported in other states. Deer grow their first set of antlers when they are approximately one year of age.

I've been working on my annual family calendars, digging up old photos for hubby, as he likes a critter calendar. My kids always get a calendar which includes month-appropriate photos from the previous year.

These are two of my favourite photos of Tigger with antlers. The first shows him in the foreground, his brother behind him (2012). The 2nd was when he showed up with his sisters and mothers the previous year (2011). They were watching cats. They are quite curious about them.
After the Fall rutting season, around January or February, the males drop their antlers. It's a good sport to hunt the deer sheds, the antlers are interesting.

I was horribly unsuccessful at it, that January, 2103, despite seeing Tigger with only one antler that year. It was a good tromp in the forest, through the snow.

You can read more here: Deer shed hunting for Family Day
Tigger, winter 2010/11

Tigger his first year 2011
Tigger following Oliver on out walk

Tigger asks, 'Yes, what?'


Olga Hebert said...

What a treat to watch all of that in your own backyard.

Bill Nicholls said...

Better make sure the deer are fed to keep them away from hunters

Hilary said...

We've not seen any yet, this year. Last year, they began coming around just after hunting season ended. They ain't dumb!

William Kendall said...

My parents had cats that would interact with the deer if they happened to be grazing in the yard. Sometimes that would mean stalking the deer, something I've seen them do. Other times the deer would quietly walk up to a napping cat, sniff at it, and scare the poor pussy cat.

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

Great set of deer photos, Jennifer.

Red said...

I learned a lot from your description of deer growth. Deciduous? I didn't know that. We never heard the rifle shots going after deer. They have to hunt a long way out of the city.

Yamini MacLean said...

Hari OM
You get some amazing access Jenn!!! Totally with you on the food v. 'fun' aspect... YAM xx