Clearly someone shorted me a bunch of days this month. That is the only explanation I can think of for once again scrambling to get my blog quota covered for August. Appears to have went directly from August 8th to the 28th – as rich Uncle Pennybags says – head directly to end of month, don’t pass Go and don’t even think about that two hundred bucks.
Speaking of bucks…
Since I started the month with a little something out of the ordinary, finished I’d close the wildlife side of the Intrigued with hooves instead of feathers. In our parts, we are loaded with White-Tailed Deer. In fact, I happen to live in an area known for the large size of their bucks. Over the last several years Blue Tongue, Chronic Wasting and my personal opinion a tag number that is too high for the area as a result has dropped our numbers significantly. So far this season I have only seen one young buck in a full out sprint across a bean field before turning 90 degrees and crossing directly in front of my truck. If there is one lesson learned from years of country living it’s to expect these creatures will go out of their way to put themselves in danger. I had slowed to a crawl after spotting it so this one had safe passage to the corn field it decided would be more fun to trample. For the record, one of those beasts destroyed the first car I bought out of college.
Hit the jump to check out some more shots of our friends from the West.
The White-Tailed I know a lot about, what you are looking at… or is it more correct what is looking at you is not a White-Tailed, but rather a variety they refer to as Mule Deer. Quick quiz, why do you think they refer to this variety of deer as Mules? If you guessed because their ears resemble a Mule, then congratulations and here’s your green pie piece. Something tells me these Mule deer can hear a pin drop 5 miles away.
As alluded to earlier, we do not have the Mule anywhere around us which means we discovered these on one of our travels. I’ve had this one in the hopper for a while as feathered specimens kept jumping it. Finally 6 years later they make it off the queue and into your hearts and homes. Back in May of 2014 we were out in Colorado with the dogs for the Teacup Dog Agility Association Nationals outside of Denver. On our way back we decided to visit Rocky Mountain National Park. One of my nemesis birds, the White-tailed Ptarmigan, hangs out there above 10,000 ft. I’ve tried several times to track that bird down without luck (tracking birds at that height with my rig will give you a workout for sure).
Luckily these Mule Deer are easy to find out there so at least you can fill your digital cards with something for your travel time. It is also handy these Mules are fairly tame – at least the ones out there. Likely due to the constant visitors to the park, these Mule Deer pretty much move along at their own pace, eating, drinking and resting. I think I might be jealous with exception of those ears as those are just goofy looking hehehe. Thanks to a little research on the net, these Mule deer can be seen “slotting” which I now know is movement behavior consisting of lifting all four feet off the ground at once – imagine Tigger reincarnated as a Deer.
The other interesting tidbit about this species of deer is their antler growth. Here in the Midwest the White-Tailed can grow magnificent racks – at least the smart ones – you see one of those out in the field and you know they’ve lived a charmed life or one sneaky bastard. Those racks consist of two main trunks that additional antlers then sprout from. The Mules fork as they grow – for the crossword fans out there this is called bifurcated. Sorry folks, no shots of a mature rack in this series so you will have to trust me on that one. I do have shots of some cute nubs.
Stop looking at those gigantic ears and look at those cute nubs. Hey, now I think this young buck is laughing at our little ears.
Just realized I forgot to point out these Mule deer are pretty much content with hanging out in the western part of North America. In contrast the White-Tailed are more into sightseeing making themselves at home all across the continent with the exception of a small area on the far west. Beyond that, not much else to really tell you about these hoofed beings.
With that, I’ll call it a post and let you get back to whatever things that keep you busy in these strange times. H”Ears” to a better latter half of the year.