I'm glad to see them every fall because it's my chance to ask questions and learn something about the mysterious ways of deer. I try not to ask too much. I don't want to seem like I'm prying. So I limit myself to a question or two per year. This year I learned that the bucks usually stay deep in the woods while the does and fawns wander about more. That's why we see does and fawns around the house and sometimes on the road, but hardly ever do we see bucks. Just because we don't see them doesn't mean they aren't there.
The bucks become less cautious, though, as rutting season strikes them. I learned from the hunters this week that it's the onset of cold weather that triggers the bucks' desire to mate and lures them out of their hiding places. Deer season began officially last Friday, but it only started to get cold a couple of days ago. They said something about the phases of the moon too, but I didn't understand that part. I'll wait until next year to find out more about that.
I like the sound of their ATVs going up and down the road, heading toward their blinds deep in the woods or to another camp, then back again. Each year in late October they clear out their old ATV paths into the interior. Their paths do us good, since we can walk along them at other times of the year and explore an otherwise impenetrable landscape of forest and bog.
For some reason I don't see hunting season as a tragedy for the deer. Most of the deer who gather around the piles of imported carrots and apples to help themselves are does and fawns and under-sized bucks who can't be shot. Maybe the carrots and apples they are eating now will add to the reserves they need to get through the winter. And if the hunters decide the herd seems too small and the bucks too few, they will just agree among themselves not to shoot any. Since they have been hunting here for years, they take the long view. Sometimes I think they are more interested in watching the deer than anything else. But they are truly happy when somebody bags one.
They enjoy being out here for a few days anyway. The young fellas are learning the ways of the woods. The old fellas are getting away from the mainland and enjoying a break between the end of fishing and the start of the lobster season in a few weeks, when they'll be hunting beneath the deep, cold North Atlantic waters.