It’s like a junior high school dance. Bunch of guys scuffing around, hanging at the edges, no girls.
In the case here on the mountain, it’s a group of five male deer, lovely young males, still with their antlers, that have been around for several weeks. Just guys, no females. There is also a family group of does but they don’t socialize, in fact seem to avoid each other, like that dance.
Deer sex happens in the fall. Most of does are presumably pregnant. Gestation is six months with fawns due in a few weeks when it’s warmer, and when the forage is more reliable. Meanwhile, opposite sides of the gym.
This morning the group of five bucks was down to three. One of the five was limping heavily when I saw them a week ago, no weight on the left front leg. The ground is rough and deer panic-run a lot, so he probably had a broken or sprained leg. His chances are poor. Nature. There are lions here, and coyotes. Or he may just reappear.
When we were younger I shot a deer for food, expecting that my children would throw a fit. Bambi. But not a peep. Deer eats our garden, we eat the deer. Fair. Me, on the other hand, I suffered a medium psychic scar, partly because I butchered the thing which is, like most things, harder than it might seem. However, that deer’s fresh liver was the best I’ve eaten.
I don’t kill deer anymore. Don’t object, just… don’t. Couple of friends of my neighbor do bow hunting on my road in the fall. Bow and arrow vs. deer seems like a fair fight.
But that’s months from now. Until then the little herd will hang around. They’ll watch me from a distance, mostly tolerating my pickup unless I get out of it. Maybe I’ll buy them a salt lick. Soon there will be fawns, some which will survive, more than during the drought.