August 20, 2010
Bestul: Summertime…And Even Now, The Living Ain’t Easy
By Scott Bestul
We all know that whitetail bucks run a gauntlet during fall. When they’re not dodging hunters, they’re fighting off rivals, chasing down does, evading predators, not eating right, or slipping past any of dozens of goofy accidents that could end their lives in a second. And once past those hurdles they face winter, when things only get tougher….
Of course summer is supposed to be Easy Street for a buck. What the heck does he have to do but sleep, drink a little water, maybe hit a salt lick, swat some gnats and flies, and pig out on a dozen pounds of forage a day?
As this photo proves, there is no such thing as “the salad days” for a deer. This monster whitetail was found dead last week in southeastern Minnesota, less than 30 miles from my home. As the photo proves, he clearly got tangled in a barbwire fence, couldn’t extricate himself, and won’t have to run gauntlets any more.
My first thought when viewing this photo was “how in the heck could a healthy, mature whitetail buck—especially one not in a hurry to do anything—not be able to negotiate a simple fence crossing?” And the only answers I could come up with were a) the buck was in a definite hurry or panic b) he was not healthy, or c) a combination of the above.
My theory: The buck was probably struck and injured by a vehicle first, made it off the road, then encountered the fence. But regardless of cause, the death of this gorgeous, apparently-prime-age monster clearly shows that there is no such thing as easy living for whitetail deer…