Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Odocoileus Hemionus Redux



Yep, more deer pix. Folks might get bored with my critter pictures, but I don't so shall continue to post them as they occur.

This morning I had nineteen mulies in the front yard. By the time I got out there with a camera they had moved over toward the east meadow and I was only able to get a dozen or so at a time in the frame. Mom and the triplets were in the group, along with the other doe/fawn pairs. No bucks as far as I could see.

Deer out here have a much larger working range than whitetails back east. I'm going to guess, based on observation, that they range two hundred square miles and maybe quite a bit more. In addition to plenty of places to find cover on the prairie, there are many abandoned homesteads and ranches, places with trees and brush cover, where they can make themselves comfortable and stay for a while. This particular band has been regular visitors on my place for several years. I guess we are used to each other, more or less.

They'll stick around for a few days and then go on the next leg of their rounds. I'll see them again in a few weeks and by that time there will probably be new fawns. Mom is gonna have to run those trips off pretty soon, and if she has another dose of triplets, or even twins, she's going to get really run down. It is likely that the next time I see her she will have a new baby or two and the triplets will still be hanging on. This is the common pattern I have observed. At least she won't be nursing all of them.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Here in Indiana our Whitetails maybe range 2 square miles, though they herd up in the winter in another area sometimes. In late winter and early spring we have maybe 3 to 4 hundred herded up within a radius of maybe 2 miles of me as the crow flies. The bucks hide out pretty good, most of the deer I see are does. Besides their normal brouse, they fatten up around here on corn and soybeans and alfalfa. They also like my garden and pear tree at times. After I roto till my garden, they like to come in and trample around in the freshly tilled dirt.

theotherryan said...

Seems like deer there would need to range further then back east or farther west because the land can support less game.

Rio Arriba said...

TOR, you're definitely right about that. Takes 10-15 acres to support a cow out here.

mike's spot said...

I never realized that the habitat was of such a lesser nutritional density? is that how you would phrase it?

either way that is a lot of pasture.

Anonymous said...

i love to see deer they taste good to

The Hermit said...

I imagine nature pictures are the most appropriate for your location. There isn't a whole lot else to photograph out there. I'd say that's a plus, all things considered.

Anonymous said...

Mike, Rio's part of the world only gets about 20 inches of rainfall/moisture a year. Other than the rivers and a few man-made reservoirs, most of the surface water is in pothole ponds that are serviced by the Ogallalah Aquifer. The climate is fairly extreme as well -- 100+-degree summer days and subzero in the winter. And the wind, she blows out there. Furthermore, its all sand soil, not much in the way of clay or loam to hold water or nutrients. Add it all up, the browse/graze is, as you observed, not very nutrition-dense.

There is a rich biodiversity in the region, owing to the fact that very little of the land has ever been broken for agriculture and that it's never been any more than very lightly populated. The U.S. Government even addressed the issue in 1904. The original Homestead Act of 1862 allowed a family to claim 160 acres and aquire deed to the land after living on it for 5 years and making substantial improvements (house, barn, other outbuildings, fencing, wells, etc.). Recognizing that the area couldn't support much of anything on 160 acres, the Kincaid Act amended the original Act to allow homesteaders to claim 640 acres in certain semi-arid areas suitable only for grazing. Which this is.

So the flora tend to be tough, and the fauna -- both the two- and four-legged varieties -- have to be as well to survive there.

'Berg

Rio Arriba said...

We got 13" in 2008.

BobG said...

Here in Utah our average precipitation is under 14". The mountains get a lot more, however. Most of the flatland area of this stare is sagebrush and tumbleweeds when it goes to nature.