On Christmas morning I walked out in the front yard and noticed an antler lying on the snow. It was in perfect shape, having just been dropped. We know all of our "local" deer by name. Our "local" deer are deer that spend each winter bedded down all around our house, and spend most of their time in our yard looking for food and stealing grain from our horses and sheep. We have identified and named each of them. We have about 15 "locals" this year. Most of them have been sepending their winters with us for several years. In the spring they disapear and late October they start popping up again.

I could tell that the antler was left by who we call our "gate buck." He is a one year old spike that beds down near the second gate on our lane. He's been running around with one antler for weeks and now finally he has lost his other one. After a little more searching it seems that both Pokey and Rudolph have left their antlers for us in the yard as well. Pokey is a spike, and his antlers had fresh blood on the bottoms meaning he just dropped them hours ago. Rudolph has great little antlers, he's about a two year old buck. What great Christmas presents!

Torn Ear showed up two days ago with no antlers. He is our 14 point buck that has been wintering over with us for 5 years. He is incredible. After a 6 hour hike through the bush last February we managed to find one of his antlers. He held them for a long time last year, I imagine because of the warm winter we had. We would love to have his set of antlers from this year, especially not knowing if we will ever see him again or not. It snowed a lot last night, leaving me to search for antlers in thick marsh brush today. It was impossible, and I sunk up to my waist in snow. I hope we find them, but everyday they are out there, they are being destroyed by little critters, like mice. As soon as we can get into the bush again to search we will . Together though! It's dangerous to be hiking alone, so Kevin and I will both go. We would love to have this years set of antlers to remember Torn Ear by. When hunting season was almost through this year, one of the local hunters stopped by to tell us that some guys who hunt down from our land, had shot him. I was devestated. He is my friend, and after making it through at least 4 seasons, and almost this one, I couldn't believe it. About three hours later when I was finishing up my evening chores... Torn Ear walked into the front yard and stood in front of our pond with the sun setting behind him. He hadn't been shot - he had been by the house the entire time, miles away from where anyone was hunting. Regardless of our thoughts on hunting which are not all negative, these deer are our family...
I imagine the antlers will be in clear view somewhere... where we least expect them to be, and where we overlook them at least several times!


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