THE EIGHT POINT BUCK I NEVER SHOT
When I returned to the house I mentioned this to Bea and she remarked that "I hope they don't shoot Bambi tomorrow". Saturday, the twelfth of December, was the last day of Deer Season and when we heard loud shots during the day we feared the worst.
We did not see any sign of this buck until after the big snow storm. It started to snow at 3:30 on Friday January the 22end and ended on Saturday evening about 9:30. After 30 hours we were looking at 27 inches of the white stuff.
Sunday was "dig out day". A neighbor plowed out our driveway and I dug paths so we could get around and I would have access to my bird feeders. I dug out my feeders in the backyard and to help the birds get through this sudden storm, I scattered some birdseed and corn on a piece of plywood.
The antler was still in place when my grandchildren came to visit on Saturday January 30th. When I pointed it out to my granddaughter Bridget, she immediately asked if she could take it to school and show it to her first grade classmates. I told her she could take it with her when she headed home. A few minutes later I looked out the window and a gray squirrel was chewing on one of the antler's prongs. Bridget started to worry that the squirrel would eat the whole thing. We assured her that it could not eat it that fast, but that the observation of chewing by a rodent would explain why antlers and bones do not last long in the natural world where just about everything gets recycled.
My Dad was a good hunter and he took me along, but my heart was never into hunting like other members of my family. I would go hunting after school and come back with nothing. Dad once said I enjoyed watching animals more than I liked to hunt them. He was right. I did bag some small game, but I never actually shot a deer. Over the last forty years as a naturalist, I have enjoyed watching wildlife and trying to understand what make the world we live in tick. It has been the best path for me.
I support hunting as a recreational activity, but it is not for everybody. The Eight-Point Buck was the status symbol for a successful deer hunt where I grew up. The beautiful four-point antler dropped in the snow in my backyard is as close as I will ever get to that elusive Big Buck.