The snow is heavy in the mountains, so the mule deer are coming down into the valley farms. There is a windbreak near the cows and a group of deer are making it their base camp. This morning we got a real treat when they came right up to where we had stopped in the pickup. We think they partake of the lick we put out for the cows.
The deer have lush healthy coats. They tread quietly on the snow and delicately jump the wheel line or scooch underneath, all the while keeping a sharp eye out for danger. I wish I could run my hand over their warm flanks and touch the smoothness of their antlers. They see us, but don’t seem alarmed as I move to focus my lens out the window.
They brunched on twigs of a russian olive as we watched. The trees are invasive and we humans mount all kinds of offense to stop their march. The deer don’t care whether they're "invading" or not. It reminds me how barren much of our farm land is.
I regret that Seth wasn’t with us, as he loves hunting mule deer - with or without a gun. We took him and Anna for a drive later to see if we could spot more, but couldn’t get very close. Seth has taught me a lot about a conscientious hunter's wildlife ethic. I used to think hunting was a red-neck waste of time and game, but now I know different. We need more hunters (and cowboys) like Seth that understand and celebrate nature, and value all her residents.
Seth heads back to northern Idaho for college in a day or two. I'll sure miss his hugs and our heartfelt conversations. God speed son . . . and watch for deer.