Shooting Bucks

One year, my husband went on a fall deer hunting trip. He would be away for a week to ten days. I would keep the “home fires burning” since deer hunting holds absolutely no interest for me.

I would rather make sure they had enough to eat, and maybe steal a little petting time while they were busy eating. In the summer the deer were coming into the yard often, looking for a handout. Since there was nothing except the neighbourhood geraniums to eat,  I supplemented their food a little. These are city deer with no place else to go, so I figured the rules are different about not feeding wildlife. Below is a late summer photo. One buck still has velvet on his antlers, but the one I’m patting on the neck has shed his.

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The fawns felt right at home in the little island of trees below my sundeck, so I put water out for them for those hot days.img686

 

In the fall, the bucks came for their handout often, until it was the start of hunting season. Somehow they knew, and they made fewer appearances like the one below. You can see that the velvet is gone from their antlers.

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 Shortly after that, the bucks disappeared, maybe to chase the does and maybe to evade the hunters.

My husband called me from his hunting camp. “No luck this time. Sorry. You’ll be glad to hear I didn’t shoot a buck this year.”

“That’s okay,” I said. “I shot a nice big one right here in the yard … with my camera.”

And here he is.

visiting buck

 

59 thoughts on “Shooting Bucks

  1. montucky

    I love these shots!
    I’ve noticed that lately I have been shooting a lot more deer and elk with the camera than with a rifle. I’m becoming a “vegetarian”. That’s an old Indian word that means “poor hunter”.

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    1. wordsfromanneli Post author

      Not very long because they were that desperate for food when I first started feeding them. They were terribly undernourished; just skin and bones and parasites. They ribs were sticking out. It was heartbreaking to watch. I told my husband, we either have to shoot them or feed them, and since we aren’t allowed to put them out of their misery, I’m going to buy cracked corn and feed them. In just a few days, they got used to me being there with the food, and then I started putting my hand right down in the corn. Gradually they ate out of my hand and it went from there.

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      1. Maggie Wilson

        There was a deer in our yard this weekend – Whitetail. I could see her ribs and hip bones. (I assume it’s a she, but of course, it could be a buck) She and perhaps here team mates ate all of my beans, toyed with the squash plants and did a good job on the violets too. Which puzzles me. So your post makes me think – I suppose the herd is too large and there is not enough foliage/grazing material in the couple hundred acres behind our house to support it.

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        1. wordsfromanneli Post author

          I couldn’t grow anything unless it was behind a fence. In the early days we didn’t want to fence the yard (now we have had to to keep out the many dogs that people who walk here let run free), so the deer ate almost anything I planted. We finally decided on a smaller fenced area, a compound, where I grew a few roses and some fruit trees. Now, 22 years later, the whole yard has had to be fenced. No more deer in the yard, but also no more dogs running through, and I can let my own dogs out into their own yard now.

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        1. wordsfromanneli Post author

          A friend of mine said the same thing a few years ago, because I had the deer and pheasants and quail in the yard and all of them after the food. They didn’t mind me at all.

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  2. Amy Shojai

    What gorgeous pictures! Yes, they’re so tame after you feed them. I do the same thing, given the chance…Just hope they don’t wander up to a hunter looking for a handout…urk! BTW, Suzie sent me. *s*

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    1. wordsfromanneli Post author

      Actually that did happen to one of the bucks. A fellow who lives about half a mile away has a different idea of what should be done about our deer problem and I felt terribly guilty for interfering with nature when “my” deer weren’t afraid of him. He shot one of my favourite bucks right in the top of the head as it was eating the corn he put out, and didn’t mind bragging about it. I’m still upset about it all these years later.

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  3. Grace

    The world aligns for a gentle soul. The image of you stroking the deer is lovely. I’d feed them, too; they are in need. We’re all interconnected on this planet. Such a lovely story to begin the day on. Thank you.

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  4. silkpurseproductions

    Both you and the deer were very brave to get so close to each other.
    You captured some beautiful images of them. It is pretty funny that you “shot” more deer than your hubby. I suspect they disappear when they know your husband is returning.

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    1. wordsfromanneli Post author

      That’s a funny thing. I think he would find it hard to shoot “the pets” now. Anyway, there isn’t supposed to be any shooting of deer in residential areas, but the distant neighbour who kills them doesn’t seem to worry about it. As for being brave, I know when they’re in the rut, it’s not such a good idea to pet them, but I never had any problems like that. There was one buck who was quite nasty though. I didn’t go near him. I named him Loosey-fur because he had a bit of the devil in him.

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  5. Jessica | Defining Wonderland

    Susie sent me and I’m so glad I clicked on the link. I love this story! As a huge animal lover, I’m not one for hunting as a sport so I have to say I’m rather glad your hubby didn’t snag a buck, but absolutely thrilled that you “shot” one. Beautiful photos and I love that you have wild “pets” that you give some snacks to. 🙂

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    1. wordsfromanneli Post author

      I love animals, especially birds, and yet I have to somehow justify killing them because I love eating chicken and beef, pheasants, and fish. I just don’t like to see them die. At least with hunting, the animals have had a real life, not a caged one, and they don’t suffer much when they’re shot. But I have to admit to a double standard. I don’t like killing animals but I like eating meat. Still, I’ll fight to save every animal I can if it’s in danger, or distress. I’d say I’m pretty mixed up. How is it possible to think like this?

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      1. Jessica | Defining Wonderland

        I’m totally with you. I love me a good steak or piece of bacon, but I just can’t stand watching an animal die. I once tried to revive a bird that was hit by a car. I guess I can justify my carnivore-ism because the animals I eat are bred to be eaten. They are born for the purpose of consumption. Does that make it right? I don’t know, but it sure is something to think about.

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        1. wordsfromanneli Post author

          Those animals are bred to be eaten because that was our decision to do so. You could argue the same thing for wild animals. They’re there to be hunted. But whatever way we choose to get our meat we need to make sure to do it humanely. Glad I’m not alone in that dilemma of wanting to eat meat but not kill the animal.

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    1. wordsfromanneli Post author

      He prefers bird hunting to big game and of course I discourage the deer, elk, and moose hunts. I like to eat the birds, but I don’t like to see them die. After doing this post I see how contradictory that is, but I can’t help it. I love the birds, but I love eating them too. There’s no hope for me.

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  6. claywatkins

    Funny…I am not a hunter, but we have a place in upper lower Michigan and there is plenty of wildlife around. A few winters ago the deer dug up the day lilies and ate the roots – my mother-in-law (my favorite mother-in-law, I might add) was livid…. a couple of days ago we were looking at the lilies, which I have replanted, and laughed.. she wasn’t laughing when she found out what they ate… but time heals all wounds. Time + tragedy = Comedy….. last winter I watched a whole pack walk across our front yard. I came over from Susie’s place – have a great week.

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    1. wordsfromanneli Post author

      I’m so glad Susie sent you. Thanks for your comment, Clay. I know the frustration of having the deer eat everything in sight. For the first few years in our place, it was pointless to try to grow any flowers, fruit trees, or vegetables. The deer ate everything. But they were so desperate, I felt sorry for them even as I was so mad at them. I understand your favourite mother-in-law’s anger at losing her day lilies. I guess a fence is the only answer. Funny thing is that while we resisted putting up a deer fence for nearly 20 years, we ended up having to put a people fence up to keep the walkers and their “stray” dogs out of our yard. After that I was able to plant whatever I wanted.

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    1. wordsfromanneli Post author

      I’m not surprised. A lot of people are not in favour of hunting. I have mixed feelings about it, because I do love eating meat and something has to be killed for that to happen. I’ve just accepted that I have a double standard where hunting and eating meat is concerned.

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    1. wordsfromanneli Post author

      They’re everywhere in our small towns here because of urban sprawl. We build houses on the edge of town (more and more) and the deer often get trapped in the middle of the territory that they once knew as theirs alone. They have become very used to people and the handouts they get from them.

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