Sunday, July 5, 2009

The Deer Hunter

We haven't been to the beach in a few days but we have been to the school field a couple more times doing some exploration. The first foray involved being dive bombed by deer flies and mosquitoes which had us running for our sanity out of the woods. I'm going to have to buy stock in OFF!.

So I'm not sure I love the forest really. Pity that since Nova Scotia is almost entirely made up of trees. We took the road less travelled at one point, were about 100 feet into the forest when I heard a strange noise. It sounded *exactly* like a squeaky door opening. Only there aren't any squeaky doors in the forest. I looked to my left and saw a log with a hollowed out part that looked suspiciously like a doorway. I glanced up to see Raimi cocking his head and listening, obviously having heard the same sound I did.

Halo was halfway to New Brunswick but recalled after a moment and we beat a hasty retreat. I have absolutely no interest in an entanglement with whatever angry creature was hiding in the dark recesses of that tree. All I know is if there is an encounter with something sharp a few things will happen: Halo will bay it regardless of the danger factor, Raimi will stand a few feet away and bark, Leeloo will dive in and out barking, Archer will be confused and upset and I will be apoplectic with anger and fear. And not a single dog will recall easily.

So off we headed back to the gravel path we'd been on. We popped out into the sunlight and continued down the trail and the dogs were all preoccupied with smells along the edges. I glanced up and my heart stopped.


A deer stood about 30 feet ahead of us just off the trail with it's head sticking out of a bush. Immediately I started walking backwards and then did an about face as I yelled "COME!". Man I wish I had a photo of four Ridgebacks trotting toward a deer they haven't noticed but I can see all five animals and the disaster about to ensue.

Halo stopped to glance back at me and over her shoulder the deer walked out of the bushes and trotted down the trail away from us. Halo kept looking at me while she turned around. Thank gawd for small miracles. They all seemed confused about the sudden course change but were happy enough to follow along. I continued walking quickly with a comet trail of four obedient Ridgebacks, glanced back and saw the deer bound a couple steps and leap back into the trees.

There is really only one conclusion to Halo spotting a deer and that is Halo bolting after the deer. I think Raimi would bolt too but would stop sooner - possibly even recall. Leeloo would likely just follow Raimi's lead and Archer would get stuck at the first fallen log. Halo would disappear into the trees and I'd be wasting my breath yelling for her. Although, I suspect if I simply stood in one spot and called her she would eventually return. Once Halo loses the target she loses interest and a deer would likely be able to lose her quite easily. She'd stop, evaluate where she was and, hopefully, follow her own scent back to me. That is best case scenario ...

So we headed home with new resolve to stick to the field and take the forest path on rare occasions. I was obsessively scanning the trees for other creatures to pop out and make my life hell but at worst we encountered a boy on a bike who was talking to himself. The forest is full of surprises and I think I'll stay out of it.

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