20 February 2014

Mule Deer Farewell

I am often asked what type of deer I have at my ranch. I respond that it depends on the time of year. In the spring and summer it’s the whitetail deer. In the fall and winter it’s the mule deer. Each year, regular as clockwork, the mule deer come down from the high country and the whitetail move down to the valley.  In spring the mule deer go back to the high country and whitetail return.

Mule deer and whitetail differ not only in their physical appearance but also in movement and temperament. Mule deer have large ears and short tails whilst whitetails have a tail that flies like a flag when they run. The mule deer leaps rather than runs (I call it boinging) and the whitetail go all sprattle-legged and look quite awkward. Mule deer are stocky and grayish brown in color whilst the whitetail are slight and reddish brown. Mule deer are calm and friendly, whitetail nervous and skittish.

As much as I enjoy having the whitetail here sharing my space, having their fawns. I really must say I favor the mule deer. I look forward to their coming every fall and I feel a sense of loss when they leave for the high country in the spring.  The mule deer and I share this space much more intimately. For a time we are family.

Winter Gathering
Limited Edition Collection

When they arrive in the fall, the deer are somewhat skittish until hunting season is over at the end of November, especially the bucks. Almost as though they can read the calendar they settle right down. All through the short, cold days of winter they come every afternoon. It seems as if they have a circuit they travel in their endless search for food and this place is on their schedule for around four in the afternoon.

Once hunting season is over it seems we settle in to a time of mutual respect and trust. We all wander around this land together. No one seems much perturbed by the presence of the other. I get so that I recognize some of the deer and give them names like Scruffy, Floppy, Daisy and Sweet Cheeks. I talk to them and they appear to listen. Maybe we all get a little whacky in winter.

Be sure and check out Kinsey's new blog The Liberated Photographer.

©Kinsey Barnard

1 comment:

The Outback Artist said...

Very interesting ..love reading about this part of the world