Deer At Play
It is no uncommon sight for those of us who live in Estes Park to see great herds of deer grazing in our backyards from early morning until late at night through out the entire winter. Indeed, I doubt if many summer visitors leave the region without seeing at least one of these denizens of the wild. However, it is a rare sight to observe a herd in one of its lighter moods and one not soon forgotten by the watcher.
Here at Utility Group there is a deep ditch with a small stream of water in it running through the meadow south of the residences. The grass on the banks of this ditch is particularly lush and green, and even in winter the deer gather along the banks of this ditch. Summer has not returned with such force that the animals have felt impelled to retreat to the higher altitudes and in the evening they still come down to the meadow. One evening a few days ago a group of us gathered in the back yard when we were attracted by the movements of the little herd of animals near the ditch.
As we watched them it became apparent that we were observing a game of some sort. There were about twenty animals in the group most of them last year's fawns. Suddenly one of them seemed siezed by an uncontrollable impulse. She kicked up her heels, cavorted around for a few seconds, then bumped uncermoniously into a neighbor. The second followed the procedure of the first and it was not long until all of them were running about kicking up their heels and bumping into each other. This game of tag suddenly changed into "follow the leader" and with graceful bounds this long line of deer crossed and recrossed the ditch.
After a while a few of them tired and let their playmates continue the game while they returned to grazing. One by one they dropped out until the entire herd was quiet again. After a few minutes one of the youngsters with more energy than the rest started kicking up her heels and the game began all over. We watched the herd for about twenty minutes and left it still frisking and leaping about.
It was substantial proof to all of us who watched that animals have their gayer moods even as you and I.
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