Of course with fall comes the harvesting of crops and with the harvesting of crops brings in all sorts of animals. Mice to houses, coyotes out of hiding and deer to the fields.
Corn fields in particular.
Last year I seen a total of three deer in total when riding.
One was a big buck that ran out of the field in front of us and darted around the corner out of sight.
The second and third if you have been reading this blog will remember our first ride out after Indigo lacerated her shoulder. We came to the horse eating bush. The horse eating bush should not be big enough for a deer to hide in but they did. Literally right next to us this HUGE buck exploded out of the horse eating bush, bounding away from us. It nearly gave both of us a heart attack. Not even fifteen feet later and a horse with a "get the hell out of dodge" mentality a second deer exploded out of the horse eating bush going in the same direction as the first deer. Indigo was completely beside herself. The anguish that bush causes that horse I am telling ya.
Normally Indigo is not afraid of deer unless they are rocketing themselves out of bushes or fields like someone lit a firecracker under their white tails. Just like cows she knows they run when she goes in their direction so they cause her no grief once she knows what they are. It's pretty easy for deer to hide themselves in a bush or forest but a harvested corn field?
Four times now just in the last week have deer been sleeping in whats left of the short cut corn stalks only to hear us crunching through the corn rows, jump up alarmed before bounding of. Talk about giving me and my spotty horse a heart attack. Normally she jumps back a couple steps then stops and stares intently as they bounce away. However these deer are either a) deaf b) really not afraid. I seem to be able to get really close to them before they jump up and head for the hills. About 100 feet or less.
"Oh no! The deer eater is coming."
(The fourth was just off the image I did not see it until after) .
The day before yesterday they were grazing quietly under the turbine. Indigo stared at them with only a few double takes. They ran off
except one that seemed oblivious to the fact I was there.
We continued on.
Yesterday we were headed down the side of the field, almost to the end where there were a few acres mowed down really flat. Suddenly as I let Indigo stop to grab a corn husk stuck to a tall uncut stalk the four deer sprung up surprised about 50 feet away. Boy were we surprised too! I just about had a heart attack and Indigo jumped backwards a couple steps and bugged her eyes out. She quickly realized they were deer and resumed her corn husk munching. Two split off in the direction of the small bush and the other two were gone someplace in a neighboring ditch. We rode around the field without further incidence of more jumping up.
If the neighbor hadn't seen it I would have thought I was nuts. But he seen it too and confirmed it with me as I met him on his way back that he seen the deer, but not me on the big white horse across the field. I thought it was really peculiar but didn't put much more thought into it other than possibly thinking it was a genetic mutate.
(Image of the dark deer courtesy of google images)
On the weekend I was out in the corn field riding Indigo bareback when she suddenly snapped her head around fast enough to give herself whiplash. There not 20 feet away was this little deer. It was small, probably adolescent, had no horns and I really did think upon first glance it was the neighbors mamoth black lab. But no, it was a deer. A nearly black deer. We both stared for a long time. It didn't move and it was so close to us! Then the neighbor came down the lane on his four wheeler and it ran to the first bush, dark, dark brown and no white tail.
(Image of the dark deer courtesy of google images)
Then on Monday I seen it again in almost the same spot only it was standing already. We were far enough away it did not run right away but it stared at us with interest before bounding off, characteristic white tail, without a white tail. So a phone conversation last night got me thinking, what if it really was some sort of genetic mutate?
I looked it up and apparently there are such a thing as black deer. Well not black but melanistic.
A melanistic deer means it's a deer that creates excessive melanin, making most of it's body a very dark, sometimes black colour rather than the traditional tan a white tailed deer exhibits.
According to a hunting site:
"Melanistic whitetails are very rare, even more rare than piebald or albino deer. You can recognize a melanistic deer because their bodies produce far too much of the pigment known as melanin which makes them much darker than your average whitetail. Of the millions of deer taken each year only a few with melanism have been reported. Most people don't know they exist due to the extreme rarity, making a melonistic buck a true trophy. "
Some have white tails, some do not (being a white tail deer). This one did not that is what struck me so odd. Normally their white tails flashing as they bound off is such an eye catcher but both times this little guy was alone and bounded off without so much of a fluff of white.
I really hope no one shoots it. I don't think they would as most are after bucks and their horns. What a neat little guy this deer is. There really are very few sites talking about melanistic deer so hes kind of a mystery. I wonder, will there be more black deer in the future like this one if he/she survives long enough to have babies? Only time (and luck of seeing them) will tell.