Into the Woods

Deer Rubbing and Other Woodsy Matters by Mary Rouse

Bill Bedall picked me up in his golf cart to explore a wooded area of the newly acquired Sunnyside land. As a hunter at heart, he was very excited about the recently rubbed tree bark he had spotted. He informed me that as bucks rub off the velvet from their new antlers, bare patches are left on the trees. These bare areas begin to turn brown in a matter of hours.

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He pointed out where several male deer had rubbed rather high on these saplings. If you can't identify the places on the pictures, I am sure Bill would love to take you for a ride and point them out! We looked for evidence of the shed velvet but found none.

This information was new to me, but I could easily tell that the Sunnyside herd had been around for some time.

Of course, I found far more than scrubbed trees of interest. Wild flowers, a vacant bear's lair, buzzard feathers, large trees marked for downing, and trash littering the thicket caught my eye.

I would love to see these areas on campus left as natural habitat, but there seem to be other plans. The surplus pipes, red clay, and glass dumped into the wooded spaces should not be there. We need green space, large trees, and overgrown thickets for birds and other wildlife to enjoy. Our walks in the woods are greatly enriched by the sights and sounds of nature. The sharing of these experiences enliven our experience and please those who can no longer get out to enjoy them first hand.

My next outing will be to photograph some of the resident deer, maybe with new fawns or smoothed off antlers!