An interesting phenomenon is happening in our town, following a good, old-fashioned winter that dumped several feet of glistening, white stuff on us. As the snow begins to melt from from a southern hillside in town, which houses a rock quarry, hundreds of deer are flocking to this spot in search of buds to eat, after a very meager winter with very little available food.
When our son reported that he had seen 50 deer at a time on this mountainside, I found it incredulous, but when I drove by after another fresh snowfall the other day, I couldn’t help but gasp . . . and then pull over, as I stopped my counting at 100 . . . and took some pix of this unusual sight.
The entire hillside was spotted with deer, which stood out boldly against the fresh snow. Literally, every square centimeter of my viewfinder was filled with deer. I was mesmerized by the sight and stopped counting to take pictures to document this most unusual scene.
With my mouth agape, I continued to snap photographs, alternately looking through the lens and then with my naked eyes, as I blinked away more snowflakes that were falling. Even though I had grown up on a farm, and currently live on another farm with orchards that welcome deer to its fruits, never before had I seen such droves of deer!
I zoomed in and out, as I continued to marvel at what was in front of me. Another woman stopped to get a closer look, and a man, who had lived in town all his life, stopped with binoculars to inspect the scene. He handed the binoculars to me and said, “Do you see this?” Even though I was witnessing the same sight through my lens, I graciously accepted his offer for yet another inspection.
This had been occuring for several days . . . day in and day out . . . alongside a very busy state road. The hoards of deer are unfazed by traffic, and this day several huge snowplows and even tractor trailers roared by, without so much as a flinch from the animals.
Here’s the sad part: although local police have set up signs and barriers in an attempt to keep the deer from crossing this busy interstate, there have been lots of deer/auto accidents. One night alone, twelve deer were reported as being hit, as they jumped into oncoming traffic. In speaking with someone who experienced this first-hand, he said he felt terribly for days afterwards, but never saw it coming.
When I drive through this area, I slow down to a crawl, and probably perturb those behind me. As the warmer temperatures continue to melt snow in the area, the deer are relocating to other portions of the hillside, seeking fresh buds as this area must, by now, be mostly grazed off.
When driving to our daughter’s house just one street up from this section, I routinely see a group of seven or more deer, usually standing right in the middle of the road. So, I’m always on guard for these lovely creatures . . . and also always have my camera ready . . .
These deer lanquidly crossed the road in front of me and then looked back, seemingly to pose for this picture.
These deer are safe in the confines of a local reservoir and quarry hillside where they reside . . . until they venture into traffic. As this harsh winter brings the creatures out of the woods in search of food wherever they may find a few tasty nibblings, I hope we can coexist and that we humans, for a change, can just slow down!