Every day, we watch for “our” herd of deer. We’ve known them for several years. It is probably around seven, if I could pin it down. Back then, we would see a few, here or there. Deer Spotting. One of Mary’s sons bought us a “deer cam” shortly thereafter. My interest was sparked even further.
I can remember, on the coldest of winter days, going out to a spot on the hill with the leaf blower strapped to my back. I would blow away all the snow, and haul out 50-pound bags of corn, and assorted apples for them.
A couple of years later, Mary suggested that I change the feeding location to the front of the house, on the edge of the meadow. We have windows which stretch all along that west side of our home. Our chances would be better to see them.
Not only that, but we picked out a “feeder” for the corn. A “trough” sort of thing, with a little roof. And now, we are more popular than the TGIF Restaurants during the ‘90s. We’ve seen as many as 20 deer at a time. Last year, I saw a band of eight bucks. We love them. We are lucky.
The Matron of the group, who we named Tilly, has passed away, we think. She is the mother and grandmother of several in our current group. During this past summer, she started looking old and wary. Now, we don’t see her any more. It makes me very sad. Tilly trusted us. We never try to approach the deer, but there are times when I walk outside, and the deer will be right “there.” When this would happen with Tilly, she would just give us a look and wait until we either sat down, or backed away. And then she would continue feasting. She would really give us a “look” — I’ll just say that.
We got to know their trials and tribulations too. The hierarchies. The sub-families. The sets of “twins” who grow up together. And on. One of the males had been severely injured, probably by car, this summer. We watched him “determine” himself through to a healthy recovery.
And here we are. We continue this feeding on a daily basis, with the help of our pal Mike. It brings me such joy every time I see them in our meadow. It is like I have this Secret Pass into the Wildlife Club. And for several minutes each day, I get to view the show. It is magic to watch.
I mention this because I saw a story in the news this morning, about a deer poaching ring. The criminals were caught and incarcerated. This, in Mount Vernon, Missouri. The overall details: It was four members in the same family. They got caught in a multi-year poaching case. The authorities say hundreds of deer were killed illegally. And the conservation agents out there in Missouri, are calling it one of the state’s largest cases of deer poaching.
They only killed Bucks. Took their heads. And then they left the bodies to rot. The authorities said several hundred deer had been killed this way, by this particular group. Only for ego and trophy.
The news account went on. The case was so egregious and appalling, that the Judge (his name is Robert George, of Missouri’s 39th Judicial Circuit, if you want to send him flowers) gave the guys a special sentence. They got more than a year in prison, but the judge ordered that they have to watch the film “Bambi” at least once a month during their incarceration. I hope they have to write “book” reports on it too. They’ve also had their hunting and fishing privileges revoked for life.
I don’t know if true justice was served. But they got a scoop of it, Bambi-Style. As for “our” deer, we fear for them yearly, during hunting season. We tell them to stay on our land, within the borders of the No Hunting signs. We tell them to sleep in our woods, and live in our meadows.
I hope they do.
But I don’t speak “Deer” and I bet they don’t speak “English.” I might try acting it out for them, in the morning. Like a scene from Bambi.
The greatest gift of life is friendship, and I have received it. — Hubert H. Humphrey
Be happy for this moment. This moment is your life. — Omar Khayyam
I feel that the simplicity of life is just being yourself. — Bobby Brown