|No sooner do I fell a birch for firewood than I spot a deer approaching|
|There are five whitetail deer browsing here on the branches of trees I've cut|
The deer are eager to nibble the ends of the branches. Now that it's April, they are nearly at the end of their long winter's fast and are desperate for new food.
As soon as I turn off the chainsaw they come right out of the trees and start feeding, all the while watching me intently to see if I mean them harm.
I've learned that talking seems to calm their fears; so, as I slide out the wood on my snow scoop-toboggan I usually quietly keep up a conversation, albeit a one-sided one.
In the past when I was cutting down dead balsam trees that were loaded with Old Man's Beard lichen -- a particular treat for deer -- I was sometimes startled to look up after making the final backcut that would send the tree toppling to see a deer right in the way of the falling tree. They always got out of the way in time. For more about Old Man's Beard, see Moose and Deer Lichen These
It's a great feeling to have wild creatures so near and not fearing me.
They do the same thing with Sam, our chocolate Lab. We trained Sam not to take interest in the deer and he almost never does. Sometimes, however, he is laying on the step when a couple of deer come around the side of the house into his view. He then lets out a couple of barks which sends the deer flying away -- for about three bounds. They then stop and seemingly realizing it is just Sam, relax again and go back to feeding.
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