Monday, November 3, 2008

Desert Destination: Hunting

Every Monday we visit a desert destination.
I haven't taken many interesting trips lately, so I was searching my photos for a good place to take you on this desert destination Monday. I do have a lot of new photos of the equipment yard, my most recent destination, but I will save those for later in the month. They're providing a lot of inspiration for my novel I'm writing for NaNoWriMo, entitled "Adventures in the Junkyard." I figure that it's only appropriate that my blog provide my inspiration for my writing.

So today we're going to take a different kind of trip. It's hunting season. Elk, mule deer, and pronghorn antelope are the three big targets around here. The exact dates for hunting vary depending on the type of weapon used and the hunting unit. 

Now even though Desert Boy is dressed in the photo above in his camo pants and ball cap, we didn't really go hunting this year. My husband used to hunt, but works too much now to do it. These days my nephews hunt. I've never hunted, my family was just not into it. But every once in awhile we get to eat some venison steaks or venison stew or my absolute favorite, venison ribs. And then I sure appreciate hunters.

Today we're going on our virtual hunt. You try to figure out what animal we're hunting by the clues below.

Clue 1: the scat.

Clue 2: the footprint.

Clue 3: part of the leg and a hoof.

Clue 4: the animal eating yummy alfalfa.

Okay, you've probably guessed it, our virtual hunt is for a mule deer. Mule deer are considered to be abundant animals today, but interestingly enough, before European settlers came, they were relatively rare. It wasn't easy for the Native Americans to catch a deer, and thus they had to rely on much smaller game, like rabbits. Why are there so many deer today? One of the main reasons is that there is more food available for deer. Deer prefer grazing on shrubs rather than grasses, while livestock prefer grasses and forbs. When European settlers brought their livestock to the area, it they changed the vegetation dynamics. Livestock grazing stimulates shrub growth. It also reduces fine fuels and decreases the fire cycle, thus allowing shrubs an even better chance to grow and flourish. Of course, everything has a cycle, and if you'd like to read more about mule deer population cycles, here's a great pamphlet.

One final photo for our hunt. If you've ever wondered what a skinned deer looks like, now you have your answer. Bon appetit.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

cool. The only thing to make that picture better is Henry and Desert Boy gnawing on an end.

Germaine S said...

Happy Birthday, Desert Survivor! Have a wonderful day.

Love,
Mom

The Incredible Woody said...

Happy Birthday!!

But I really could have gone all day without seeing the skinned deer!

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