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November Rut: Does Feel It, Too

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Much is made of the November rut, but everybody winds up talking about the bucks. 

They're big and impressive and they have those fabulous racks, and everybody likes to look at those. 
But the bucks aren't the only ones doing crazy things. I'm here to represent for the does.

I had had a string of three days in a row where, while trotting along with Chet, I'd enjoyed fabulous sightings of a king buck escorting a doe--three great big swole-necked eight-pointers in three days.  Of course I'd been on foot and packing only my iPhone, so I have lousy photos, even though I was deliciously close. I love stalking deer on foot! So on this afternoon, figuring I might get lucky again, I packed my big Canon rig with 300 mm. telephoto when I drove to pick up Liam at the bus stop about 6 miles away. 

So we were driving from the bus stop on the afternoon of November 17, 2015, Liam behind the wheel. This leaves me free to enjoy the passing landscape, when I'm not stuttering "BRAKEBRAKEBRAKEBRAKESTOOOOOPPPP!!"  We call it "my call." It's not that he drives too fast. He just waits too long to brake. We're working on that. 

I saw a small doe hugging the edge of the woods, clearly wanting to cross an expanse of lawn and the road, at a little before 4 in the afternoon.

Her eyes were fixed on something across the road, and she was so absorbed in what she was looking at that I feared she would step right in front of the car.

So I gave my trademark staccato call, 
"BRAKEBRAKEBRAKEBRAKEBRAKESTOOOOOPPPP!!"It actually sounds like something a ptarmigan would say. 

Liam checked the rearview and rolled to a stop.  I threw myself across him, rolled down the window, and got this shot of the doe as she stood and fidgeted, wanting to cross. 

I looked along her sight line across the road, expecting to see perhaps a group of other deer she was trying to join.

Huh.  She's wanting to cross in broad daylight into someone's front yard, and there's nothing there. 

No other deer. 

 Except this one. And she's looking right at it.

Perhaps the finest piece of yard art on my county road. I drove by it for years without appreciating its full majesty. It wasn't until I started running and thus had the leisure to examine it closely that I grasped its impact. For Mr. Funk (yes, that's his name--you can't make this stuff up) has taken a roll of electrician's tape to your basic concrete yard deer, and he's taped a bit of skull and the attached rack of a real whitetail onto it. The solar light stuck on a tine adds a bit of nocturnal flair. 

Dang handsome, that yardbuck. Even with his tail done wore down to a nub o' #3 rebar.  It's the rack what got her.

Bucks aren't the only ones who get lonesome in the November rut. 

File under: Desperate HouseDoes, Sadie Hawkins Dance,  I Love Where I Live, Appalachian YardArt, and Situational Awareness.


Ohhhh, I love this love this LOVE THIS!

My 39-year old son who is an avid bow hunter enjoyed every word!
And...he appreciated the buck decoy immensely.

Who among us hasn't been in the same situation as the doe, eyeballing some stud from afar, only to find out when we get close that he's held together with electrical tape.

Posted by Anonymous December 2, 2015 at 8:01 PM

Hahahahaha...what a dirty trick on that doe.

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Loved the story and Mimimanderly's comment. I think the females of all species may feel attractions for some of the males. I was cleaning fish just inside the maintenance building at Red Rock Lakes NWR, with the vehicle door open. Two female mountain bluebirds flew at each other and fell to the ground and fought for about a minute. A male flew down and closely watched the flight from about a foot away, then flew off with the winner.

And I had the same experience you are having with Liam while teachan we do - and we've unconsciously compensated, or we just feel more mortal.

This is a great story, you should tell it on NPR.--hart

Ha ha. Tell NPR you miss me. This one is fairly dependent on the visual of Mr. Funk's art.

Hahahaa! Great tail, errr tale.

Posted by Gail Spratley December 4, 2015 at 2:29 PM

"Mr. Funk" is fitting indeed. Have you ever seen deer in your area on a game cam? I wrote about it here:
Does and Bucks and some surprises too!

Have a great weekend -


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