The mulie bounded across the road in front of us. Powerful leg muscles flexed under her summer coat, propelling her through effortless 20-foot arcs. Five heads swiveled to watch the deer, some of them lurching from reclined positions of slumber.
Joshua put his hands over his ears and motioned to Isaiah to do the same as I set the hair trigger on my 50-caliber muzzleloader. Within seconds after the smoke cleared, the animal stopped running and it was over. The boys were beside themselves. The look on their faces was one of excitement and sheer joy.
The day was gorgeous, the weather was great, the scenery was interesting and colorful and there were plenty of deer for us to watch through binoculars. Fortunately, it’s a big area and we were able to find some wildlife close enough to photograph.
My primary concern is for the overall health and growth of a species. Rather than focusing on individual animals, I ask myself how management actions will affect the species as a whole in an area, and then I weigh the costs against the benefits. Given these considerations, most of the time my advice is that people avoid feeding deer in the winter.
One of last year’s 15 poaching cases involved more than 20 bucks killed within a two-month period. Fortunately, officers were able to catch the individuals responsible for this grievous act. The combined efforts of concerned citizens and DWR officers brought successful conclusions to some, but most of them are still open cases.
The chaining removed pinyon and juniper trees in order to establish grasses, forbs and shrubs. These trees provide hiding spots and thermal cover for deer and elk, which is like a bedroom. By removing islands of trees and aerial seeding the area with quality plant species, we create a kitchen, and they still have a bedroom too. It’s a habitat remodel of sorts.