Whitetails in a Tizzy by Lisa Densmore
Location: Red Lodge, MT
There are a lot of nervous White-tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus) in my neighborhood at the moment. It’s the same expanding population of deer that always grazes on my lawn, trims my aspen trees and gorges on my lilacs, but now they’re in a tizzy. With the rut only a week or so away, the chests of the bucks are puffed out, and they’re trying feverishly to herd the does into harems. The annoyed does tend to comply rather than receive an antler in the behind. The bucks and does are so distracted by each other, they seem oblivious to a passerby such as me, whereas a week ago they would have put up their trademark white tails and bounded away.
Several evenings ago just after clock moved an hour earlier, I inadvertently took my late afternoon jog during the early evening. As I rounded the last corner on my street, I pondered whether to pick up my pace for the home stretch. Good thing I didn’t simply break into a sprint. Two deer would have run me over in their hell bent charge across the road. I always watch diligently for deer while driving my car, particularly at dusk and after dark when deer are most active, but it never occurred to me that a deer might run me over.
The next evening, I wanted to take a walk to help ease that over-stuffed feeling after a particularly hearty dinner. My sweetheart insisted he come with me. He was worried about the whitetails. Deer are herbivores. They graze on grass, grains and alfalfa; browse leaves, twigs and berries; and nibble nuts and lichens. What danger could a white-tailed deer pose a human?
“A buck in the rut wouldn’t think twice about butting you with an antler if you happened onto his turf,” he explained, “People have been killed by ornery deer.”
Onery? I think he meant horny.