When I was taking down my Christmas decorations last week, I happened to look out my front window to see one of Santa's reindeer waiting for him outside! (All photos will enlarge fro easier viewing if clicked on)
Needing a little break, I went outside to investigate. There were actually three mule deer bucks outside, happily munching on a juniper bush in front of my house. Since we live in close proximity to protected open space near the foothills of the Front Range of Colorado, they are a common sight in our neighborhood. They are also very used to humans, but don't worry --I made sure to keep a safe distance from them, non-the-less.
Most of the time they will look up at me for a second, and then just go right on eating.
But this day, this particular buck pulled on my heartstrings. He had obviously been previously attacked by another wild animal in the vicinity--perhaps a mountain lion or coyotes--and had escaped, but not without injury.
His front right leg was injured and he was limping on it. He had marks on his flanks and back that looked like healing bite and scratch marks. Although he was limping badly, he still was able to walk, and did not appear to be in too much pain. He certainly enjoyed eating my shrubs and dried tree leaves! If you notice, one of his antlers was also broken, so I guess he fought a brave battle, and fortunately for him, he won this time!
The next morning I looked out my bedroom window and there he was, resting in my backyard.
Since I do not have a dog, I often see deer in my yard, as there is nothing to discourage them from entering. As you can see, he has his injured right leg extended in front of him.
When I went outside later that morning I saw he was still sitting and leisurely chewing his cud, and did not look in distress, which made me feel a little better. I looked into the protocol for injured animals on our community Rangers web site, and their literature states that as long as the animal can walk, they do not intervene. If the deer was unable to walk, then they would come over and euthanize him. I know that would be the kind thing to do if he could not feed himself, and had no chances for survival.
A deer's life is really a matter of survival of the fittest. They face quite a bit of hazards living int the wild and among humans. Since this injured deer seems to be a frequent visitor to my yard, I can't help but root for him to heal and survive the winter. I'll keep you posted!
Thank you all for your kind words of sympathy on my last post--they were very much appreciated. It is hard to begin the new year with such sadness, but my daughter and son-in-law have been fortunate to have their baby girl to give them daily joy, and now my son-in-law is going for tests to make sure he does not suffer from heart disease, as his older brothers did. Please continue to keep them in your prayers! Thank you!
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PS: There is a very interesting article you might want to read on BlogHer, entitled "Blogger Beware: You Can Get Sued For Using Photos You Don't Own On Your Blog" It definitely is a good warning, and food for thought.