Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Have You Seen This Deer?

I have spent an enormous number of hours out in nature. I was trying to figure out exactly how much time I have spent outdoors, either fishing, camping, hiking, or even hunting (I have hunted very little, but some day maybe it will constitute a bigger share of my outside time), and I came up with a rough estimate of right around a billion hours, three of which have occurred since we started having copious amounts of children.

Most of this outdoorsy time has occurred miles from cities, out in the hinterlands of Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, South Dakota, and even in rugged, exotic locales with lots of mountains, like Colorado. I have come face-to-face with bison, had antelope run across the road in front of my car, and even had Rocky Mountain sheep stare at me as I took their picture. And, the deer! Oh, the deer! I have had figurative run-ins with mule deer out west, and very-close-to-literal run-ins with White-Tailed deer around here, dozens of times. Once I saw two big bucks frolicking in a meadow, heading towards the road I was on, straight at a big 18-wheeler that was bearing down on them. Luckily they noticed the truck right before they touched pavement, or else one or both of them could have been launched directly into my windshield. That wouldn't have been fun, for any of us!

Big ol' deer are everywhere out in the country, but the biggest buck I have ever seen was in a little park about a half a mile from my house in Oakdale, MN. Oakdale isn't a bustling metropolitan city, but it is very near one, so it was especially surprising to see such a regal beast in a suburban area.

If you see this deer anywhere near Oakdale, please notify authorities.

We also have seen some deer tiptoeing through our yard on occasion, as they make their way to our pond for a drink of water. One of them did that last night, and we had evidence of this by way of hoof prints that led from the front yard, through the newly planted grass seed in our side yard, and finishing in the newly planted grass seed in our back yard. You may not know this, but hoof print-sized divots are not held in high esteem by homeowners who have spent dozens of hours grooming their dirt in order to make it more acceptable for grass seed, which is well-known as one of the most fickle of seeds. Sure, it's easy to get grass to grow where you don't want it to, but when you put it down in your yard, it tends to shrivel up and die before it's even hit the ground. Because of this, don't be surprised if, while you are driving through Oakdale, you see a camouflaged figure, or two, lurking in the shadows, waiting to strangle any unsuspecting deer who are about to set foot on our property. You don't need a hunting license if you don't use a gun, right? That's what I'm going with.

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