Sunday, June 21, 2015

A Too Wild Life

Today is the first day of summer and the wildlife abounds. It's with an effort that I keep the bird feeders, bird baths, and water pails filled for the pawed, winged, and hoofed ones.

The ground squirrels, destructive little diggers, play Dodge-the-car as we drive along our rural roads. At the end of the workday, in the early evenings, the crack of gunfire resounds as the neighbor men begin their critter clearing chores.

A couple of weeks ago I watched Mattie catch and kill a ground squirrel, on our driveway, in front of me. It was sudden and quick, the surprise never left my face, nor that of the ground squirrel's.

Mattie, Varmint Hunter

A few days later The Man came into the house after putting the animals in the pen. I had just gotten home from work. It was already dark.

He asked,"Did you hear anything?"
"No, what did I miss?"

The Man said the dogs spotted a doe on the property and took off running. The doe easily jumped over the fence. Unfortunately she had babies, two of them. One got over the fence after Mama but the other one ran parallel to the fence and kept bumping into the fence. The Man yelled for the dogs and Mele came to him. Not so for Mattie. She continued to chase the fawn.

I asked if Mama Doe tried to help. I've seen Mele chase a fawn and also witnessed Mama Doe running after them, inserting herself between Mele and her fawn, diverting the dog's attention. The Man shrugged, "Maybe that's why they have two babies." The trapped fawn was on it's own.

Here's the thing about a scared fawn. Their frightened cry is a scream. A loud shrieking scream. I kid you not. It sounds like a woman being mishandled, badly. I kid you not.

So: It's almost too dark to see. The Man is trying to get down the hill into the field as fast as he can without breaking a leg in a hidden hole (curse you ground squirrels). He's yelling. The dog is barking. The fawn is screaming.

And then Mattie catches the fawn. When The Man reaches them, Mattie is standing on top of the fawn and it's not moving. She relinquishes her prey and walks away when Alpha Dog arrives.

The Man checks the fawn and sees a small bloody scratch on the fawn's face. No other blood. He explains, "I think it was exhausted." He picks it up and carries it to the fence line and halfway there it starts to squirm and get it's strength back. He gets it over the fence and it bounces away.

A calmer and quieter day

About this time our neighbor, Matt, walks up the little road that separates our property and says, "Hey, guy, what's going on?"

The following day another neighbor said she and her friend heard the commotion while sitting outside enjoying the quiet evening. They debated whether to call 911. But, I guess, being the mother of three teenagers she's not easily alarmed by yelling and blood-curdling screams. Even if it is coming from our usually sedate homestead.

And what was I doing while all this was going on?

Well, since I had just come home from work I was catching up on a rebroadcast of the NBC Nightly News on my iPad (in our, apparently, soundproof home) unbeknownst that all the while the real drama was happening right outside the door.

I Spy with my icy blue eye