I hiked five miles this morning again in Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge. I didn't take any photos because I have posted a number of these recently. I did see a nice variety of wildlife during the hike, including a large flock of snow geese, a flock of hundreds of grackles and blackbirds, a kingfisher, a half dozen or so mallards, a snipe, a great blue heron, and five white tailed deer.
I saw the deer on the way back, first a good sized doe crossing the path about a hundred yards ahead. She moved into an area to the left of the path of very tall marsh grass. Then two more deer moved on to the path as I walked along, saw me, and bounded away. I reached the approximate area where I had seen the doe move into and stopped to look for her. I couldn't find her but suddenly saw the tips of antlers sticking above the tall grass about 100 feet away. It was a very nice 8 point buck! I watched him using my field glasses for about 10 minutes as he nervously moved his head around trying to pinpoint my location. Now and then he would prance quickly for 10 or 15 feet, then turn around and move back from whence he came. Suddenly, only about 30 feet away, the doe bounded through the grass, running past me and disappearing again into the vegetation. The buck’s head swiveled nervously. Then, near where I had seen the pair of deer, a four point buck appeared. He stared at me for a few seconds, then bounded away, leaping high in the air with his tail waving like a white flag.
The deer had just gone through a short hunting season that closed yesterday, and they were more nervous than usual. I was somewhat amazed that such a nice buck had escaped the hunters, because I am sure that he would have been a good trophy. My guess is that he has been “around the block” enough to know to lay low through these short hunts, and has lived to see another rut. It was a thrilling way to end another memorable hike.
It was also a good reminder about how you can be litterally feet from a fairly large animal and not detect them. Had the doe not run into that area across the path, I would have walked right by without spotting the buck. And even though I knew a doe was right in the vicinity, I did not detect her again until she got too nervous with me standing there and bolted.
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