Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Deer With Glasses

My father is often fond of repeating the story of how one day, while hunting, he watched a young deer make a run as if to jump between two fence posts, only to be caught by the sheep wire hanging there. The wire twanged like a guitar as it stretched with his weight, until it snapped back and threw the young buck back onto his rump. Not to be disuaded, the yearling jumped back up and tried again, only to get the same result. This time, after rising, he walked up carefully and inspected the wire from a VERY close perspective. Like from an inch away. He sighed backed up, and tried again, this time jumping over the fence and going on his way. Thinking about it, it brings to mind that this poor thing was probably severely near sighted (that doesn't mean I wouldn't have shot him if I had met him when he was older, just, you know...). Which leads me to my next thought: Could this be corrected? It makes you wonder what a deer would look like with huge cokebottle glasses, his already "doey," excuse the pun, eyes magnified multiple times. Would the other deer make fun of him and call him "four eyes" and stuff? If so, would it make him angry and sensitive, finally taking a bottle of jack and a .30-06 to the top of the bell tower at the forest's university and... well, maybe it's a good thing that deer don't have glasses.

Thinking about a deer with glasses reminds me of the multiplicity of animals that I have seen/heard of that had weird problems, possibly due to some medical condition. First, another story from my dad. He and my uncle were hunting and they shot a deer. He's sure to this day that it had been a bad shot, but the deer dropped like a stone. When they got up to it and began field dressing it, they discovered that they had indeed shot it in a non-lethal place. Normally a shot like that would have had the thing running for hours before it finally stopped and bled to death. But this one had dropped straight away. Cutting it open, they discovered the reason: it's heart was complete mush. It had esseantially had a heart attack when it got shot, killing it instantly. It was a youngish deer, so old age was out, but there it was. To make matters worse, or, at least weirder, there was an even younger buck that kept trying to look over their shoulders and see what they were doing. Neither of them had any tags left, so it was illegal for them to just shoot it. It would get right over their shoulders and look into the chest cavity of its erstwhile herd mate. They would yell, and chase it, and even throw rocks at it, but it kept coming back and even followed them back to their truck. Another tick on the weird scale was that this had happened in the same area, generally, that my dad had seen the one have the run-in with the sheep wire. Maybe there's something in the water....

On the subject of areas with weird animals, I have to mention Depp's Hollow on Avon flats near the Weber/Cache county line in Northern Utah. Most of the animals in this little wooded draw were a bit sketchy, but especially the squirrels. The grouse hunting was pretty good in there, which kept us coming back every year. And every year we'd see squirrels doing some pretty weird stuff. We saw one hanging from the bottom of a tree branch, pretty normal for a squirrel, but when he decided to get down, instead of just climbing around on top of the branch and coming down like most would, he took the fast way, by simply letting go and plummeting to the gorund. Thing is, he acted like he did that all the time, just staggered off, shaking his head. Another time, my dad had a squirrel simply climb his leg up to his belt, stop, notice him, scream, fall, and run away. And it wasn't just us that noticed these things, either. It was the other animals. My dad was taking a break on a particular log up there when he looked over and noticed a weasel sitting next to him. They were both watching a particular squirrel whose story I will get to in a minute. My dad noticed the weasel and said "Heck of a place to make a living, huh?" The weasel just looked at him and sighed, probably thinking the same thing. Another time, we saw the tracks of a large wolf going up the draw at nice lope, but coming out at a dead run, as if he went in there and discovered the weirdos he was expected to eat, and didn't like that thought one bit. We think we finally discovered what's wrong with those fool animals. We noticed that the berries there on top of the branches, accessible by the birds, all get eaten fairly early in the season. But the berries on the bottoms of the branches, the ones normally eaten by the squirrels, don't get eaten until much, much later in the year. After the first few solid frosts. After they had fermented. During the prime gestation period of squirrels.... Basically, all of the squirrles there have fetal alcohol syndrome, and keep just passing it on to the next generation of retards.

And now on to Squinty, that one squirrel that we often had dealings with. We saw him most every year for about seven years or so, an inordinatly long time for a squirrel to live. I know it was always the same squirrel, he was very distinct. His fur ranged from sickly grey to dull brown, and it didn't do it smoothly, either, but in patches. He was the closest to a spotted squirrel I've ever seen. His tail was half bald, but not as if it had been stripped by a predator or normal balding. One half, devided length wise, was bald, so the right side of the tail had hair but his left side didn't. And then there were the eyes. One eye was oddly huge, the other eye was oddly small, giving him the name Squinty. And his teeth stuck out even farther than most rodents. Squinty was also confused in his sexual preference. I'm not saying he was confused genderly, but that he was confused by species. Not even species, he had his whole class mixed up. You see, Squinty was attracted to birds. He somehow learned to mimic bird calls. Bird mating calls. And half the time that we saw him, he was busy amorously chasing some very scared birds through the tree tops, all the while making his pathetic little cries for love. I wonder if he ever had any luck....

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing those stories. They had my laughing more than once. :) Definitely great stories to retell to your kids. Keep em coming, Roark!