Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The deer are out again

One of the signs of fall that I’m not happy to see again is the deer rut. Deer are out and about all over the place. At night it’s particularly dangerous to be driving. Deer are more likely to be crossing the road, buck are chasing the doe, and they all seem to be looking for a party.

Last night a doe and a fawn from this year bounced across the road in front of me. I stopped and waited. I know this doe. I know she has a second fawn, and sure enough the second fawn finally realized mom and sibling were moving and rushed out of the brush to rejoin its family.

Over the years I’ve developed a few techniques to avoid hitting deer that has so far held me in good stead. I try to use my high beams on the car whenever I can, even if it’s not dark enough to actually need them. The high beams give me a wider view of the sides of the road and will often pick up the eye shine of deer long before they bounce across the road.

When I see a deer, which happens virtually every time I am out of the cabin after dark, I stop and wait for it to cross the road. After it crosses, I wait another few seconds. It’s amazing how many times there’s at least one deer more bringing up the rear.

My photo today is an old hickory tree that grows at the end of my lane. This year it’s producing a large amount of hickory nuts, which I am gathering as quickly as I can chase the squirrels away from it. Cracking hickory nuts takes a lot of work—I use a hammer on a stone. The results are worth it, though. The nuts taste like butterscotch. Try adding the pieces to cookies. You won’t be disappointed.


Jackie Callahan said...

Lovely Blog. I have a hickory tree on the lane I live on, and the passing cars crush them open as they pass; my puppy, Lily, a 6-month-old cocker, loves to grab as many as she can as we pass!

Carolyn H said...

Jackie: it would be funny to see a dog eage hickory nuts! Mine don't try that trick! Thanks for stopping by.

Carolyn H.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

There are deer on the roads here, too—day and night. Yesterday I counted 7 in a yard not far from my place. It's no wonder our annual highway kill total is so high. Though the rut occurs every autumn, and whitetails begin appearing in numbers, drivers never seem to learn.

You're so right about there always being one more deer to cross the road. There are times when I'm convinced there is still another deer out there waiting to cross…and at least half the time this intuition or "deer sense" proves correct. More light from the headlights is always good. Plus common countryfied sense and caution.

I haven't paid much attention to local shagbarks, but many of the walnut trees are as loaded as I've ever seen them. I shot a couple of photos the other day—which I'll probably run in a post—of a tree with nuts unbelievably thick on its branches. Maybe 15-25 bushels on a single, average-sized tree!

Carolyn H said...

Griz: Your comment reminded me of another deer issue that I forgot to mention in the original post.

What to do about that deer that Will Not Move out of the middle of the road? I flash my headlights back and forth from high beam to regular a couple of times. That always gets them moving.

Carolyn H.

Squirrel said...

So far I have been very lucky to not hit a deer. I use pretty much the same technique as you do. We seem to have an abundance of Walnuts here and I am really loving them. They are so much better than those english ones you buy in the store. Following your advice I will look for the hickory and add them to my fare.