Saturday, October 28, 2006

Close call.

I was working on some indoor chores this morning. Two dogs (Airedales) were in the house with me, and two more were outside but tied. I suddenly became aware of something screaming bloody murder! The outside dogs went into orbit, and the inside dogs wanted out.

I do a lot of predator calling, and am very familiar with the sound of an animal that has been caught by a predator of some kind. So are my dogs. I have a bunch of free range chickens running around the place, and my first thought was that something had caught one. I didn’t take time to go for a gun, but opened the door and the dogs and I headed outside.

The sounds were coming from a spot across the creek that runs through my property. The dogs jumped the low wall and crossed the bridge at a run. My neighbor’s hogwire fence stopped them. He keeps both goats and sheep, and has the place fenced to keep his stock in and dogs out; although there were neither goats or sheep in the field at this time. I climbed over the low wall and followed the dogs.

As I approached the spot where the dogs were running back and forth along the fence I saw two deer, both does, run off into the timber along the creek. A large bird took flight from the ground. I didn’t get a real good look at it due to the trees, but from the size alone I could tell it was no hawk. It had to be a buzzard or an eagle.

The ground on the other side of the fence was fairly open, and I could get a pretty good look without walking around to a gate to gain access there. I saw no sign of anything lying there, or of the feathers that should have been scattered if a bird had been caught. My guess is that an eagle caught a fawn. This year’s fawns are getting pretty big by now, and the big bird must not have been able to kill it, at least not outright; but the young deer was making plenty of noise about it! Hopefully it survived to grow a little older, and wiser.