August 31, 2020

Buck rub

buck rub on a downed tree
The neighborhood buck has come to visit, and he left a calling card - a buck rub. 

In the summer of 2019, one of the cherry trees out in the "west forty" toppled over for no apparent reason. It happens when you have a lot of trees. We don't really question the why of it, being accepting of nature's ways. It's slated for firewood, having had a season to dry. Allowing it to dry will make it easier to cut and split, and if it still has too much moisture in it, we'll burn it next year. There's no reason to get excited about it. Life on the manor unfolds at its own pace. 

This morning, when I stepped into my sunroom office, I noticed two things. First, the big poplar tree on the fringe of the yard dropped a lot of leaves overnight, and two, the buck rub. Buck rub happens as the bucks scrape their new antlers on whatever object strikes their fancy to rub off the velvet that has protected their antlers as they grew out over the summer. Yes, whitetail bucks grow a set of new antlers each year. If you're very lucky, you could be walking in the woods and find last year's set. You can even train your dog to scent them out.  

I've seen the young four-point buck in the woods, with his little harem of three doe and four fawns. I doubt the fawns of 2020 are his, but next year, those born will most assuredly be his. He must have that certain something since he already has the ladies lined up. 

I'm also very happy he chose a downed tree for a rub. There are visible gouges in the wood, deep enough to damage a living tree, or even kill one. That's what happened to an Ash tree twenty years ago, long before the borer beetle invaded. 

As destructive as deer can be, I'm glad to have them around. They are shy, graceful things when they're not eating everything in sight. Hunting them used to disturb me, but I know now that if there is no hunt, up to one-third of the animals in this area may starve to death over the winter. A quick death is preferable. 

But when hunting season begins, I step outside and talk to the local deer, advising them to stay on the manor and be safe. 

The Lady of Holly Tree Manor

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