Deer season

It’s deer season in Georgia. I know that deer season for regular firearms starts sometime in ┬álate fall and lasts into early the next year. I checked online for the exact dates (Oct 21 through Jan 14), but that’s not how I figured it out.

We have heard one loud gunshot. I heard it when I was walking the dogs and Leah heard it at home. It came from the woods on the other side of Fouche Gap Road, where there is a large tract of land used for hunting, plus the Berry College campus, which also allows hunting. But it wasn’t gunfire that made me aware of deer season.

I have seen a couple of pickup trucks parked along Fouche Gap Road that had the look of a deer hunter’s truck. But that wasn’t what made me aware of deer season.

No, it wasn’t those things. It was the stink of rotting deer carcasses thrown off the side of the road. That unpleasant aroma has been strong at several places along the road for several weeks. The dogs are very interested in what’s causing that smell, but I don’t let them investigate. A few days ago Zeke escaped and ran immediately to one of the carcasses, where he rolled and rolled. When we found him he had an overcoat of something black and stinking. It was all around his neck. Of course he had to have a bath before he could come back inside.

Sometimes the carcass is not visible. Sometimes the remains have been stuffed into plastic bags. Sometimes you can see ribs where apparently some portion of the edible meat has been cut away. Sometimes it’s hard to tell. A couple of days ago I saw one deer where it was obvious what the hunter wanted. The entire, intact deer was lying in the leaves, minus the head.

I wonder what portion of deer hunters our carcass dumpers represent.

Wildlife

I posted some pictures of a flock of turkeys that crossed our yard a while ago. Another flock made our lot part of its regular route recently. There were at least three adult females and probably close to 20 young turkeys. No toms as far as I could tell. I took this shot last week.

This is down towards the front of our yard, an area that we are currently allowing to grow wild.

I haven’t seen the turkeys in the last few days. I suspect that the young turkeys have left the flock to go off on their own.

We get to see a good variety of wildlife here. We’ve seen just about every large mammal that lives in this area at one time or another. That’s just one of the things I like about living here.

Cats and birds

We were beginning to worry a little about the cat we found on Monday. She apparently had not relieved herself since we found her, even though we took her out and put her down into the flower bed, where there is a nice layer of mulch for a cat toilet. We were worried about leaving her in the house alone for several hours on Wednesday (potential explosive situation), while we out having our regular huevos rancheros and making a grocery run, so before lunch I went and bought a cat litter box.

We set it up in the hall, because we really don’t have a suitable place for a litter box, and she almost immediately went in took care of pending business. There are two bad things about this development. The first is that we don’t want an inside cat that uses a litter box. The second is that she passed something that looked like bright, red blood. Our vet has been closed since Saturday and will reopen on Thursday. We’re taking her in then.

Here she is relaxing on the leather recliner in the living room.

Not long after this adorable shot, she turned around and clawed the chair’s arm, leaving four or five punctures in it. This does not make us happy.

On a cat-related note, a few weeks ago we noticed what looked like an aborted bird nest about three feet off the ground in one of the crape myrtles we planted beside the house. Looks were deceiving. This is what I found when I looked into the nest on Tuesday.

I think there are three baby mockingbirds, being very quiet. The mother was perched in a tree some distance away, looking like a concerned parent.

I looked in the nest because I had seen the mockingbird flying around in the vicinity, although never lighting in the crape myrtle itself.

This is obviously a problem location for baby birds. I don’t think any of our cats have located the nest yet, but as soon as the birds fledge, they will end up on the ground with a limited ability to fly. At that point, a cat, most likely Sylvester, will kill them.

I wish I had destroyed the nest when I first noticed it, before the mockingbird had a chance to lay her eggs.

Carnage

One of the less pleasant parts of walking the dogs up and down the mountain is seeing all the dead animals that people driving cars almost always overlook. There is a little of almost everything — snails, salamanders, snakes, turtles, birds, squirrels, armadillos, possums, dogs and deer. The dogs and deer are usually murdered elsewhere and the bodies dumped along the road. The rest are victims of our transportation system.

I almost never take pictures of the deceased, but a few days ago I saw a snake that showed no obvious sign of its cause of death (in other words, it wasn’t smashed), and was such a beautiful specimen that I did it anyway.

This is what I believe to be an Eastern Milk Snake. Curious Zeke is in the image for scale. This is small for a mature milk snake, so it is probably a juvenile. According to the linked site, the Eastern Milk Snake and the Scarlet King Snake sometimes intergrade in northern Georgia into Tennessee. Make sure you have followed the link to see the picture of the king snake, it’s magnificent. The coloration of the unfortunate snake I saw here seems to be somewhat brighter than the image of the milk snake, so maybe it’s one of the intergraded snakes.

What a shame.