March has been brutal, not unusual. A few days ago the temps were 0-3 degrees and tons of snow. Then wham, changeover, several inches of rain, and we are over the hump. Because of the deep snow, crust and so many days below zero degrees, I took special pains this winter to monitor the deer herd. I am concluding that they did just fine. So did the gray fox you see below.
These five deer stuck together all winter, bedding up in softwoods, and venturing out as long as there was no crust. About three weeks ago, they completely disappeared, and I feared coyotes hit their bedding area.
This little coon was a constant also.
Probably me and the pups putting these deer to flight.
This is the other side of the road from the above pictures, and right in our back yard.
Below there are three little guys bedded on the south facing bare slope.
Below is the route I snow shoed to get into the deer yard that had been abandoned. I figured I would find multiple deer kills.
I am right in the middle of the bedding area, and fifty percent of the young hemlocks are bark stripped by deer. But no fresh tracks, no beds newer than several weeks, and no found deer kills.
Further hiking showed me that the entire group had moved in a large circle to southern slopes behind our house. They are regular visitors, have eaten back two brand new small apple trees I planted in the spring, but are nonetheless welcome.
Here is a week old deer bed.
So, now that the deer are fine, it's off to other things. Below we watch the guys who manage our sugar orchards boil the sap. We are hoping for at least another three or four day run, and then it will be over.
Let me know what you've all been up too!