It seems we must have hundreds of deer on the farm considering the large groups we see every afternoon. As a conservative estimate, let’s say there are only a hundred. Of this, there must be at least 40 buck deer. So where are all the antlers they have dropped?
Each year, leading up to the rut, bucks grow a fresh set of antlers, starting in the spring. In late winter, they shed their old antlers before starting the new set. Many people get their spring fresh air and exercise attempting to find those shed antlers. My wife and I are among the many searchers.
Sunday afternoon, though quite windy, was sunny and warm. My wife and I loaded Billie in the back of the Ranger, Jag in the front, and headed out to look for sheds.
Jag insists on riding in the front with us, if only for the first couple of hundred yards. He has to be in the seat between us to start, but before long, he has to get out. From there, he wants to run, hun, and chase rabbits. Billie is content to stand up in the back with his front paws on the roof so he can watch where we are going and bark at any deer we see.
At the beginning of the trip, we were convinced we would have to make two trips to haul all the antlers we would find. With the number of deer around, the ground should be littered with them. To our surprise, this was not the case.
We had been out for more than an hour before we found our first one. It makes sense that a loose antler would fall off when jarred by the host animal, such as when he jumps a fence or across a creek.
We started by driving fence lines. There are paths where herds of deer have crossed the fences. We gave special scrutiny to these areas. We then started driving along the edge of ditches.
Our first find was when we were looking into a ditch. I glanced up into the open pasture away from the ditch, and there was an antler. While going toward that, my wife looked farther up the hill and saw another, also in the open.
So much for the theory, they should be at fences or ditches. From then on, we drove the open pastures and hay fields. It is much easier going and requires little or no walking.
We did find pieces of antlers in the hay field, not far from the driveway. It looked as though a pair of bucks were fighting and each broke off a part of one antler. It must have been quite a fight. We brought home the two pieces, just because it is something a person does not see commonly.
After a few hours, we had enough fresh air and exercise from playing hide and seek with the deer antlers. Jag was tired enough; he went home without us. Billie was still full of energy, but he was the only one in the party that was still ready to go. He could burn up his excess energy playing ball while I sat on the porch.