Saturday, January 22, 2011

My Deerest Departed

This is the time of year when the truth becomes known.  Who survived the killing season? I am most sad to say that my big boys are all gone but one. I no longer have the privilege of seeing their beautiful faces or watching their unique interactions with members of the herd.  No longer will I be able to call out their names, talk to them or just stand quietly and watch them eat.  Only one returned and a young yearling never left.  The other seven (plus) are simply gone. The snow stayed on the ground most of December contributing to the difficulty of finding adequate goodies to ingest. They probably had to travel greater distances.  Although we have over 60 acres, it isn't enough. I hear they travel miles to establish new territories or spread their seed so to speak. Bossy's Boy and a yearling from the 'Long Tails' herd were lucky enough to escape from harm.
Bossy's Boy suffered an arrow wound in his right shoulder from the 2009 killing season.
 Bossy's Boy will be 4 years old this June. So far he has survived many killing seasons however his luck changed when he got hit by a car near Christmas. His left hind quarters are severally injured. He was improving steadily until he fell on his right knee so now the limping continues and a large hematoma can be seen. My poor thing showed himself at feed time on Christmas Day. I blogged about it in The Good, The Bad, The Holiday Season.
Bandit with his dark eyes is on the left and proud Bossy's Boy is on the right.

Tanner who's tail has no black in it whatsoever, joined the farm in 2009.  He was two and a half years old in this November photo.
Last year most of the older ones returned...Bandit, Tanner, Ringo and Twin. The other Twin did not and Twin decided not to stay. The little yearlings never returned either which broke my heart. Bossy's Boy will be four years old in June. Two years ago, he left the farm and came back with a new buck, Bandit. They have been best of friends since despite Bandit being the dominant male. Tanner arrived last year and was two and a half years old. Ringo, the same age, was born on the farm however, I do not know from whom. And, my dear little Buttons has either been killed or he is far away in a new territory. His rack was so mature for being only a year and a few months. He was Peanut's twin and so very beautiful.  Beauty's Boy who is so light in color left with Buttons and Bossy's yearling twins, Red and Big Boy have not returned either. 


Brownie's yearling, Buttons who is Peanut's twin was my favorite little buck.

Beauty's Boy is so handsome in his 'fawn' colored coat!
Bossy's yearling twins, Red and Big Boy enjoy a grooming session since Bossy no longer loves on them!
Beauty's Boy and Red were good friends this summer.
Look how mature Big Boy grew to be at only about 17 months.  Bossy always turns out big bucks and is the first to go into estrus.
Speaking of big bucks, Cappy is huge compared to his cousins.  Cappy is the tall button buck on the left.
Probably one of the last times I saw Cappy.  Either he left or he got hit by a car as I saw a young deer on the side of the road in December.
Bandit's Boy is an exact image of his daddy. Look at his defiant expression!
I have several little button bucks that were born this spring.  The dominant one is Bandit's Boy born to Cocoa who was born to my special Brownie July 2008. Cocoa keeps a close watch on him and the two are rarely apart.  He is now learning to herd other deer including his mother who is probably telling him not to do that to her in this photo since he just finished nudging her butt.  So very cute!

This sweet little face continues to make me smile and I can only hope he lives a long healthy life.  All of the deer are beautiful and I pray they each survive.  I will miss my boys dearly but at least I have these images and my memories will live forever.

44 comments:

Verde Farm said...

Oh my gosh. So sorry to hear you’ve lost so many this year. Breaks your heart when you see these beautiful faces and innocent eyes that have little protection when it comes down to it. I know how much you love and care for them and I sure hope some of the missing ones return.

Mandy said...

That is so sad, and I can relate too. :( We had a small herd around here with two little babies. The momma disappeared one day and now one of the babies is missing even after hunting season!

How do you get them to trust you so much? I think it's amazing that you're able to get so close, especially to name them!! Gosh, my mom would never come inside if she could go out and play with the deer she loves so much, lol.

Linda said...

Did I miss an update on the one that was born late in the season? I hope he/she is doing okay.

How tough it must be to follow their travails and not really know what happens to some of them! We had a coyote attack a doe and fawn here last spring and the doe hid the fawn in the grass--we didn't know what to do, we thought she'd lost it. But, apparently, she hid it and someone told me they don't have a scent when they're that young. Still, we almost interfered.

Kritter Keeper at Farm Tails said...

mandy, i just use the monty roberts methods of how to move around horses and deer react the same way. the 'long tails' are still skittish and snort and run away but brownie and bossy's brood are more calm and sensible. linda, the last photo is of little autumn born in september. he is still tiny but thankfully his winter coat came in fast. and yes, the little fawns have no scent thank heavens. i blogged about that in trying to trust when some stray dogs were close to a newborn fawn but never saw it nor smelled it. ;~)

Paint Girl said...

I am so sorry to hear that you have lost your special deer! Your picture's are so beautiful!!

varunner said...

Love all of your beautiful pictures! We have 72 acres and don't allow any hunting. Each year I love watching the deer families, but I've never had the heart to name them. We live in a big hunting community. In fact, our neighbors give us a hard time about not allowing hunting on our land, but I haven't caved in 12 years so they just need to get over it. The deer need someplace safe to go.

Feral Female said...

Sorry to hear you lost so many. Winter is a very harsh season on animals.

Vicki said...

Very sad.....I love animals...We have a huge State park here and they close it a few times a year to cut back on the deer population....I hate it when I hear about this! You have beautiful photos and I love checking out your blog...Blessings
to you.....

Jill said...

Beautiful photos! I am always glad when hunting season is over. The winter has also been very hard on them this year and last. One of my neighbors has a little one that was wounded by a hunter, but is now doing well. Do you ever find the antlers after they shed? I always look for them and hardly ever find them.

Tina Eudora said...

I am so sorry to hear about the missing babies...I am not pro-hunting in any form and I know in this area (upstate New York/Vermont) that is not a popular stand, but I am proud to say I will never hold a gun in my hands for any reason.
Here in New York it is also permitted to shoot coyote or whatever else your heart desires and it is so sad.
I love nature, I watched a small herd of deer for 2 years walk along the outside edges of the farmer's fields near my home and this year there were none to be seen. I can't take walks anymore near the forest for fear of being shot. Whether it is hunting season or not we hear shooting in the woods.
You are so lucky to have so many sweet creatures trust you and come near. I hope I can live somewhere someday where I will be able to safely enjoy the same thing!
Take care KitterKeeper!
Tina xo

Louise said...

Don't worry too much. As you said, the deer move on this time of year. I haven't seen any, though I have seen tracks in the snow in the morning.

I do understand how you feel. I haven't seen my turkey ladies in about a week and with the bitter cold weather we have been having, I'm worried sick about them.

Razzberry Corner said...

This is so sad, it breaks my heart. I still miss my Sally and all her twins, which grew into beautiful deer. Sally died, all her babies died... it broke my heart then. 12 acres just wasn't enough land. So here we are with 250 acres, and it still isn't enough. I'm so sorry for your deer. they are beautiful, and I love how you learn their personalities. Spring will be here soon...

~Lynn

"GB" said...

What great photos, I hope all the ones that did not come back are far, far away having the time of their lives. We have deer in our subdivision and have to be so careful when driving, but they are a joy to watch.

COUNTRY GAL said...

Sorry to hear ! They are so beautiful and need to be protected before there are none left in the wild ! Have a great day !

Oskar said...

What a sad loss. They are just so beautiful!

Nubbin wiggles,
Oskar

Willard said...

your post is so interesting and mirrors my experiences so much. Almost everyday I look at the deer and cannot believe the special relationship I have with them. Most of them are regular visitors and trust me implicitly. I can walk freely among them, and one of the key things beside them knowing me is to act completely relaxed and make no furtive movements. Periodically strange deer show up and they will run if you move into the open, but soon they too learn that the situation is safe.

Any of these deer will bolt in alarm if they hear a strange vehicle in the road or spot a strange person, although they were not so afraid of vehicles until we had the problem with "thrill killers" earlier this autumn.

Whatever, it is depressing to assess the damage from the fall hunting seasons and the poaching. I only lost two in season this year, which is when I usually lose the most, but the poaching was the big problem this year. I do not own it, but am permitted to manage 500 acres for wildlife and it is not enough to protect the deer as of course the bucks disperse much further than that, and even the does sometimes stray across property boundaries and are shot.

Coy said...

Thanks for the update on the deer herd. You have created a situation where you can watch the deer naturally interact with one another with no concern for your presence, something that few people have the privilege or the inclination to do. You will always be at odds with the hunting community for where you see friends they see trophies. It’s hard to say just how much land would be needed to adequately protect a deer herd but it would be measured in square miles not acres. Pa did a buck dispersal study where they collared a number of young bucks. One buck traveled over 40 miles to set up his new home range.
I hope that the coming years are not so hard on your herd and that you can continue to enjoy these truly incredible creatures.

♥I am Holly♥ said...

We are so very sorry about your loss of your beautiful deer. We love all of the pictures so much. We get upset every year when hunting season starts because we just love all animals so much. When I lived in Craig County, I loved watching the deer come out in the evening. One time I was horseback riding and a bullet went flying by my face and scared me and my horse very much. A few inches over and it would have hit one of us. We love the last picture of the new one...may he live a very long life. Lots of love, Debbie and Holly

Angela said...

I'm so sorry to hear that you lost that many deer this year. You sure do have some great pictures of them and great memories of them. They are just so gorgeous!

Marci said...

It is sad that there are so many dangers of outdoor life for these precious creatures. So sorry for your loss. You certainly captured their beauty in your photos.

Rose H (UK) said...

I'm so sad for you and your sweet friends. I hope that some of them have escaped the hunters and will return to the safety of your land soon. You should feel proud that you have show them nothing but kindness and love. I know it's just not the same, but your photos are truly beautiful.

I live in the UK I cannot come to terms with hunting at all, thought there is forest and heathland four miles from our home and there is a yearly 'cull' to keep a tight reign on the amount of deer that the land will support, it makes me so sad.

Rural Rambler said...

A sad time Kritter Keeper. But I am hoping some of your Deerest moved on and found their own territory. Someone else in comments mentioned Turkey. We are missing our girls and have only seen four of them. There were 36.

Bossy's Boy is heartbreaking. Your pictures are beautiful.

Mountain Woman said...

So sorry about the loss of your deer. I don't see many in the winter and look forward to summer when they will come out of the woods to feast on our apple trees.

Thank you so much for visiting my blog and telling me about your Grandfather. I'm so interested in his stories.

Gattina said...

How sad ! It's a loooong time ago I haven't seen a deer other than on pictures.
You are very welcome to participate in Cats on Tuesday !

AJ-OAKS said...

It is so heart breaking to have lost so many. :(
There really is something about deer that is just well, so peaceful and graceful.
Here's to hoping all the deer stay there with you where they are safe.
Hugs.

Mel said...

Look at all those beauties, we have a lot of deer here, but looks like you have more...

Perhaps, some of the males have run off other males, or the other males may have found their new herd.

Keep your eye peeled, they may come back when you least expect it.

Mel

allhorsestuff said...

I am SOOOO happy that you found me in Bloggerville!
I absolutely love your site design and how very cozy and homey it is here. Nice work!

I could have written your profile piece too, I am in that exact spot in my life, where I NEED the country and I desire to do things my way... and also keep my own critters!

It is so tough to board!!
I'm in location 7 -for having my mare 5 years. This one seems to be most consciencious and willing to put up with my need for professionalism!

I am sorry to know that all those beautiful deer could not come back.They get to trusting you, I noticed in all the neat pics you had.

Gald to meet you, and I will love to come on back soon~
KK

Abraham Lincoln said...

I hate to see animals killed period. Especially those killed by automobiles and "sportsmen" who shoot anything walking and I think who would love to shoot their neighbors if it wasn't murder.

Phyllis said...

Hi,

It's so nice to meet you.

I share your love of all things wild and moved in on a small herd of deer 10 years ago. The herd has changed over the years and is smaller. Woods are being cut by loggers, there is always death by car and I live in redneck country where I can hear rifles being shot in the dark (spotlighting). It all makes me sad. People say the deer are a nuisance, but they were there first. And all their natural predators have been killed by humans, so what do people expect?

Thanks for sharing pictures of beautiful creatures!

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

The deer are gorgeous! I hope the Spring brings some new deer into your area! They are amazing creatures! ♥

Cindy Caudle said...

I love the pictures of the deer. They have such pretty faces. We have a herd of 18 that winter by our place every winter. I love to watch them.

Life At Cobble Hill Farm said...

Your pictures are stunning, although I'm sorry to read of the loss. Thanks for visiting my blog - I've enjoyed yours a lot and have joined.
Staci

Mary Ann said...

Oh, my, they are so very beautiful, I can't imagine getting to know them, and then having them disappear. I cringe every time I hear shots in the fields around our house.

From Beyond My Kitchen Window said...

Oh my goodness. How sad you must be to have lost all those beautiful deer. Nature and man can be so cruel.

Elenka said...

Sooo nice.
Your photos are amazing.

Mary Ann said...

Had to come back and look at these pictures and read this story a second time, it struck me so much. How wonderful it must have been to know all those animals.

Flat Creek Farm said...

I always enjoy your amazing deer photos and stories! You could be a deer biologist, you know. Is there such a thing? I'm sure there is! Such sweet and innocent little faces. I would grow terribly attached also. Our resident deer family seems to have survived, and Ruby & Gracie & myself are quite happy about that. -Tammy

acorn hollow said...

They area so beautiful. And the killing season is very hard. the snow here is very deep and coyotes are on the move, they can walk on the crust on the snow, where deer go through. We have a cattle farm just below us and I know he is killing the coyotes as they are attacking his cattle. nature can be very cruel.
caty

The Barn Door said...

I hate hunting season! I can only watch the deer that go through my place from afar. Don't know how you get so close to them, that's wonderful!

luckybunny said...

I'm sorry about your losses. I just found your blog and was so touched by your first post because we are very like minded, we have named a lot of the deer on our property and we see them year after year, the ones that survive. Your pictures are really beautiful. I'll keep looking through your blog, I'm glad I found it.

Genny said...

It has to be so hard getting to know these beautiful deer and worrying about what happened to them. I sure hope that some of them have moved to start territories and families of their own. They're so beautiful.

Iowa Gardening Woman said...

What a lovely bunch of photos and thanks for sharing the memories, life can be sad.

thecrazysheeplady said...

Sad but beautiful post. :-/ {{{hug}}}

JC said...

This made me cry. I have deer at our vacation property. They visit my front yard a lot. I don't know them like you know yours but I still worry when people drive too fast. I am so sorry for your loss ...