Sunday, February 22, 2009
February Deer Scenes
Here some pictures from our kitchen window on Friday. Generally we have about 20/24 inches of snow in the woods, but because of the last few weeks warmth and loss of some in open areas, the deer are roaming along our upper rear fields looking for open ground. Not much browse here, but it did hold their attention for awhile. They all looked fairly healthy.
They were able to walk off staying on top of the crust. They will go from here in a big circle up the hill to a large softwood bedding area. Years ago we fed them through the winter. We stopped when the coyotes began killing them right out side the kitchen. Even without feeding them, within several weeks the coyotes will be into them in a big way. They whelp around March and really require a lot of red meat. I have photographed some grisley scenes of coyote kills. I will say this. Absolutely nothing goes to waste in nature. Every bone, every hair, every hoof is utterly consumed by the canines. What they leave (and it isn't much,) is finished by birds, foxes and bears. Whatever they do kill does not seem to adversely effect the size of the herd here. When we fed them, we could count up to 35 deer in our yard at once. Once snow breaks, they scatter widely for food. My feeling is that the most predation (by coyote, fisher and bear) is on the newly born fawns in May and June.
I find that about half the does in our area lose a fawn, and sometimes both, by fall. In any case, over the past ten years we have managed our land for wildlife. Logging, bringing back the overgrown fields, freeing up the wild apples, and planting clover have increased the overall size and health of the deer in our area. In the 90's when we first arrived, it was a big deal to see a deer on stand. Now it is not uncommon to have ten or more feeding within sight of our elevated stands.