Friday, June 13, 2014

Down by the Riverside

Took a walk down by the riverside where, for about three miles, there’s a narrow strip of woodland no more than 200 feet wide and a comparably narrow strip of occasionally mowed vegetation between the river and railroad tracks. On the other side of the tracks is an industrial area with some houses mixed in. Although the strip has a good population of gray squirrels, chipmunks and cottontail rabbits – and an occasional woodchuck, it’s not a place where anyone would expect to see larger critters other than wandering dogs and housecats. 

So, on this day I was surprised to see a white-tailed deer standing at the edge of the wooded strip.

Took a few photos as a second deer joined the first. Both deer were bucks with antlers clearly visible.

As I walked closer, the deer gradually walked into the dense woodland and stood watching me go past. The woodland is comprised of silver maple and a host of other species including invasive exotic species like Norway maple and Ailanthus. But the densest cover for the deer is the thick understory of invasive Japanese knotweed, which deer won’t eat.

White-tailed deer are very adaptable animals evidenced by the high population densities they can reach in suburban areas. These two bucks bring a host of questions to mind: How long have the bucks been here? How far do they travel beyond this narrow strip, or do they spend all their time here? Are there does there too? Will the bucks leave; and if they do, where will they go? How many people have seen them?

If I was a bow hunter – which I’m not – these two bucks might tempt me to spend more time in this narrow strip of woodland and perhaps to hunt there.

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