Thursday, October 18, 2012
Sounds and sights of fall
If a day has gone by this week without seeing at least 10-12 deer, I must not be looking—deer along the roads, deer in the roads, deer standing by the edge of a trail and staring at me. Deer are everywhere this week. The dogs are thrilled. They think like predators and are sure they can catch one.
This morning one doe stood not 20 feet from Baby Dog and me and stared at us. Baby Dog didn’t see it at first. I’m taller than she is and had the benefit of a headlamp to catch the reflection of her eyes. When she saw the deer, Baby Dog stopped and stood for a few seconds and then bounced on both her front feet, trying to get a reaction. The doe didn’t move right away. I think she thought we couldn’t see her in the darkness. Then Baby Dog gave a quick bark, and the doe trotted off into the brush.
These early morning and early evening encounters are commonplace. The deer are starting their rutting season, and the muzzleloader hunters are probably pushing them around a bit, too. I’ve heard two shots this week, both late in the day. Those long rifles make a big sound, echoing throughout the mountain and the valley. I can’t tell where the shots originate, though I haven’t seen a hunter or a vehicle parked nearby. The shots are loud enough to make me think the hunter is right behind the cabin, but I know that’s not the case.
Last night I also heard the sound of a lost, lone Canada goose. I didn’t hear or see a big migrating flock, but I know the particular sound of a goose that’s been separated from a flock, and this was one of those. They call and call, hoping they will hear the flock respond, and those answers will help them rejoin their group. This one wasn’t having much luck. No calls answered it that I could hear. But the sound made me think that waterfowl are on the move to the south. The time is right for that.
I hope I get to see or hear one of those big flocks this year. There’s little else that says “fall” to me like the sound of a flock of 300 or 500 Canada geese. Often several flocks are overhead at the same time, and the sound of their honking goes on for an hour or more, a new flock sounding from the north before the sounds of the old one disappears to the south. That’s what fall sounds like, hundreds or thousands or geese honking high overheard, moving south away from the approaching winter.