The excited hiker was perplexed.
“She wouldn’t leave! That doe just stood there and watched as my dog and I jogged past.
When we came back, she was still there and just watched us go by.
There must have been something wrong with her.”
That, I thought, or you were standing on her fawn.
Not literally, but within that bubble where she doesn’t need to intervene quite yet and desperately hopes that she doesn’t have to at all.
She will spend all day in hopeful observation.
If no coyotes or inquisitive dogs comes sniffing, she will periodically visit the low ground and thick grasses to feed the twins that are normally birthed by a mature doe.
The older does have lost fawns before and will regretfully give up one to save the other.
While predators take their toll, younger does with only a single fawn will charge intruders as if in a panic.
That hysteria is a tip off to the coyotes, while one dodges and draws away the doe.
Another will slip in and gather the hidden fawn to take back to hungry pups.
Walk on by this time of year if you see a doe in an unnaturally quiet pose tolerating you or your dog’s intrusion.
Don’t advance and kick up the fawns hidden, unseen beneath your feet.
Two more observations.
I cried wolf last summer in an article about the decline of insects in South Dakota and the ripple effect that would have on game-bird chicks and other wildlife.
Reports of their demise might have been premature and greatly exaggerated.
As I sit outside beneath a hilltop pine writing this article, a small armada of mosquitoes has taken a liking to any of my exposed flesh.
The fact that my hands are moving over the keyboard at high speed seems to do nothing to deter their appetites, and I am forced periodically to give up the written word in order to reduce blood loss.
This last week, I and my wife Leslie, drove to Sioux Falls to a conference and she took the opportunity to drop me off and drive north to visit our sons in Brookings.
She was nearly forced to pull over because the visibility of her windshield was so obscured by the bodies of insects.
She was afraid to turn on the windshield wipers imagining that the insides of insects are less likely to cleanly vanish than to smear.
The front bumper and grill resembled nothing more than a battle zone and the carnage was incredibly resistant to removal in the car wash.
I might need a chisel.
The heavy moisture in the eastern part of the state has delayed planting and insecticide application.
It was a trip down memory lane and the witty one-liners from my childhood.
Uncle Pat would take me fishing down along the river. He once exclaimed after a particularly vibrant explosion of color from an insect collision, “that bug won’t have the guts to try that again.”
Head towards moisture and the lakes that are producing the swarms if you want to experience a flashback.
In California last week it was reported that a cloud of ladybugs covered nearly 150 square miles of the skyline and showed up on the national weather radar.
My own alfalfa fields are equally blessed, and the aphids are scrambling for cover. Bugs are back, at least for this year.
Finally, rifle deer applications deadlines for all units in the state are due tomorrow on the fourteenth.
This is the first year under the new regulations designed to distribute licenses to more individual hunters.
You may only select two units in this first draw.
Those not drawn in the first period have preference in the second draw, and all remaining licenses are up for grabs in the third.
The Speirs family has owned and operated Crow Creek Wildlife Management Service since 1996.
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