I was going to write about how cruel nature can be at times but this quote spoke to me. Assigning things like cruelty to nature probably doesn’t make any sense. Unless you believe that there are forces behind nature and then those forces can certainly be mean and cruel. Otherwise, things just happen.
And we all know that animals get sick or injured in the wild. Normally, we just see the aftermath on a roadside since cars are probably the leading cause of death for most urban wildlife. Even though I also know that animals live to survive and produce enough offspring to keep the population going, it still makes me very sad to see something on the side of a road.
Sometimes, maybe the fatal accident is better than the alternative. I noticed deer tracks in the snow this morning as I was finishing the driveway. No big deal. We have deer in the area as there are plenty of wooded areas in this part of town. This afternoon, I saw right next to the house eating from one of the evergreen shrub things we have in certain places. The thing he was eating is kind of scraggly and wasn’t one we planted so I don’t have a lot of attachment to it. I figured with the new snow cover, he was just looking for an easier meal.
Until I noticed that he was holding up a front leg and not putting any weight on it. This is heartbreaking. I instantly went to find every resource I could and there just aren’t a lot of options. Every source I found said that rescues of adult deer aren’t done because the stress usually kills them. They said that typically if you call someone, they just come out to put the animal down.
I did find an actual flow chart of what to do from some state DNR. That, and other sources, said that the leg can heal and a deer will often stay in one location for a couple of weeks until things heal. It said if you notice that it can’t get up then that’s when to call someone. Logically, I know that would be better than slowly starving to death but that would be a difficult call to make.
All of these sources also said to not feed the deer. Yeah, like that was going to happen. I mean he was underneath my bird feeder waiting for stuff to drop to the ground. There are other feeders he can easily reach (like where I saw the tracks). And we toss stuff down to the raccoons when they show up so there’s plenty of food around. Although deer are not the scavengers that raccoons are.
So, yes, we tossed a few things down while trying to remain out of sight because we didn’t want to spook the thing. Rocco the wonder dog did not agree and was barking his head off when he spotted the deer. It did actually manage to run away. We spotted it down the hill in the woods near the house and it came back later.
We don’t have any real predators in the area. We’ve had coyotes from time to time but haven’t seen or heard one in a long time. And it is supposed to warm up after tomorrow so the snow should melt making it easier for the deer to find things in the woods. I don’t know if it will stay around our house and I have no idea what the outcome is going to be. But I also know we are going to offer food and hope for the best. Because that just feels like the right thing to do.
(Yes, if it gets to the point where I see it can’t get up, I’d make the hard call. For now, that’s not the right option)