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Monday, November 15, 2010

The Things You See

I was at the farm again last weekend. Still looking for that particular buck, or at least a nice one. With three little hunters filling the freezer I can afford to be choosy and if I don't get one at all then maybe one of the little ones I pass on will be bigger next year.

At any rate I was sitting and looking around with binos on Sunday morning. It was almost 9:00am and I was getting ready to pack it in in the next few minutes so I could get home. I hadn't looked around behind me in a few minutes so I glanced over my shoulder and was surprised to see this little one.

I've never seen one so little out so late. What were Mom and Dad thinking!?

This tyke was all alone. I wondered where Momma was. I took these pics over about a 5 minute period.

I'm not sure what the attraction was for the trailer hitch but the fawn kept going back and licking it. There was still a heavy frost on everything that hadn't been in the sun. If he'd been a few minutes earlier I might have gotten a pick of him with his tongue stuck.

Finally it went around the trailer to the water pan where Momma was getting a drink or something all that time.

Off they went.

I decided to just sit for a little while longer and see what else I could get a pic of. First up, another mule deer doe. She came by and put on a nice show for me.

Mule deer aren't the brightest creatures in the world. The bucks are not quite as trusting but aren't any brighter that I can tell. The biggest factor in getting a decent mule deer buck on smaller farms is having the buck wander across your place when you are there. Mule deer cover a lot more ground than whitetails and will hit any quarter section of land within their normal range maybe once every few weeks. If they cross your place during hunting season then great, if not, you're out of luck unless you are the kind of person that shoots them on someone else's property without permission. Even if you are that kind of person it is a felony so some people don't do it for that reason alone.

Before the doe had gotten very far I noticed some quail in the area. There has been a shortage of quail for the last few years. We saw one covey of about 10 or 12 on Saturday, then a group of 6. Could have been part of the same bunch. This bunch numbered 10 or 12 total but they wouldn't sit still long enough to count. You can see one on the dead limb at the base of the tree and 3 more spread out to the left. More of them had already started heading out.

Here is one I got a pic of as it walked under the blind.

I have videos of these as well and if I have time I'll try to upload them.

You can click the pics to see them full size.


Paladin said...

Great pictures!

I miss quail. We used to have them around here when I was a boy. I liked the bobwhite song, and hunted them often in the fall. Danged fireants, and "clean field" farming pretty much did away with them close to home.

Bitmap said...

I don't buy into the theory that fire ants have anything significant to do with dropping quail numbers. We don't have fire ants and the quail numbers have been low for years. Some years we don't see any. That same fire ant theory is popular for horned toads as well, but again, we haven't had any horned toads for many years.

Changing agriculture methods seem a more likely explanation. That seems to be the case at the farm. Twenty years ago there were plenty of people living in the area. Everyone had their cultivated land and some grazed pasture and there was CRP land. Quail like the grazed pasture with scattered trees and will run into the cultivated land or CRP when threatened. Quail don't seem to like solid CRP or heavily overgrown areas. They seem to like low cover with scattered large cover. For most of the last decade or so it has been almost all cultivated or CRP with little grazing at least right around us. Lately there have been more people coming back in planting what used to be cultivated fields with mixtures of special kinds of grass to give cattle year round grazing. I think that has helped some because the quail like the low cover and eat the seed.

We used to have blues and bobwhites out there but nobody has seen a blue quail in years. My grandpa used to not like blue quail because they usually ran before you could get into shotgun range. Usually we only got them when they were hiding under a bush or tree by the driveway or when we were pulling into a farm. Being on private land we would shoot them out the window of the car, sometimes with a .22.

Hopefully we'll have enough quail to hunt again one of these days.


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