The Outsider: An influx of cloven hooves
|By Will Jones - The Outsider | November 8, 2018|
I was driving into work the other morning, when, as I rounded a bend nearing the village, I was met with a procession of deer trotting down Gelert Road into Haliburton. ‘Ha-ha, it’s that time of year’, I thought, deer hunting season is upon us.
Four of them. A big doe, two smaller fawns and a young buck sporting a jaunty little set of spiky antlers. And trot down the main road, that’s exactly what they did. Not dash skittishly across in front of my truck but calmly, almost, with only the odd backward glance, trot for more than 60 yards around the bend near the hospital and off into the front garden of some unsuspecting villager. There they spread out and began chowing down without a care in the world. Taking a little vacation. moving into the village for the duration of the rifle hunt. That is what they’d tell you, I’m sure, if only white tail deer could speak.
Now, this may sound a tad preposterous to some but animals are far from stupid. I recently listened to a CBC interview that told of a decades long study of elk, which found that older females altered their travel routes during the fall, moving away from known hunting areas and into more secluded spots, before returning to the norm as winter set in. The scientist conducting the study cited that said elk had developed a seasonal internal clock that told them when hunting season was, along with a geographical knowledge of where not to be during that time. Clever, eh?
And so, to our own deer here in Haliburton County. Almost every man, boy and a fair few ladies too pick up arms and trudge into the bush at this time of year, in the hopes of bagging a deer. These critters have been hunted around these parts for longer than even the barber and Ronnie can remember. So, it stands to reason that the deer are getting wise to us. They figure a fellow sitting in the bush with a pointy thing on his lap is dangerous but a chap wandering Main Street with a double double is probably safe, and so in they come. The village is somewhat less picturesque and there are far too many pesky cars but, if a deer stays alert and learns to look both ways before crossing, there are some good apple trees to visit and plenty of backyard feeding stations. Compare that to the beautiful autumnal bush that has for a couple of weeks been invaded by guntoting, orange-clad killers and the choice is simple. Join the procession and move on into the village.
And that explains another hunt season phenomenon. You wonder why guys in orange caps always look grumpy when you see them driving out of town? They should be grinning from ear to ear, having a high old-time hunting for a couple of weeks instead of going to work. But no, they scowl because for the last three days they have spent near on every waking moment sitting in some remote corner of Haliburtonian bush, watching, waiting for a deer: a deer who has actually taken a vacation himself and joined his buddies at the all-you-can-eat buffet table in the front garden of a house on the outskirts of the village. The same house that the guy in the orange hat has just driven his truck past as he returns to his remote corner of deerless bush.
Happy hunting folks.
WILL JONES - is The Outsider