Wildlife coming to town

Published 9:26 pm Tuesday, July 6, 2010

It could have been when the big ol’ turkey came within six feet of my head early on a Monday morning—a beautiful sight as he realized where he was and frantically flapping those big wings and making that load flopping sound, trying to gain altitude.

It really got my heart pumping, though I was only going to get the paper. Maybe I had been thinking of morning on the river a lot lately.

I’ve been seeing lots of sights that remind me of living on the river—the occasions when the wildlife would come to visit. One morning near Christmas, a neighbor called and said, “Look out the window, a deer is in your yard. Right here in town.” A big red-tailed hawk visits us frequently on the back porch, the near-extinct red headed woodpecker comes around often, not to mention more squirrels than ever, and a few rabbits are coming back. Hey, please don’t misunderstand: I love wildlife (animals, now, not lifestyles), but it seems more obvious lately. What is happening?

In a recent response to all the attacks by bears, a study was made, and the experts say we are moving closer and closer into their space, and they are learning not to fear us. So, are they coming in to make friends (unlike those bears of course)? That should dampen the red-hot desire of some of my friends who still want to go out and make them dead! Ma used to tell me, “Honey, these folks are going hunting—if it means losing their crop.” One of my friends and I get into discussions about this subject. He always interrupts with a story about a poor fish on the end of a line with a sharp hook embedded in his jaw and someone on the other end of the line, enjoying his struggle to survive. Touché, my friend.

Hey, I went hunting once, but when all that shooting started, I found a ditch hoping to avoid the crossfire, thought I was going to take “friendly fire” for sure. Some idiot did tell me one time how close I looked sitting in my boat, through his riflescope. Very well!

As a taxidermist, I mounted more than a hundred deer heads and heard each story. Never once did anyone say that at any point were they in fear for their life! I guess that is when I started pulling for the deer—he doesn’t even have a weapon!

I had to put a lady deer out of her misery, cowboy style, after she had fallen off a cliff on the lake and broke her leg. I had to load her in the boat, then into the car, and took her to the county jail for the prisoners—only to find out the health department had stopped them from eating such! I had a hard time trying to peddle her off on anyone.

Now, my sweet Trace called me one night to tell me that she had killed a deer. I said, “Honey, I’m so sorry.” I had no idea she had killed it on purpose! She sent me a picture with blood smeared all over her pretty face—the deer’s blood!

Maybe it’s those big ol’ soft brown eyes. I mean, I still remember Bambi!