Photos By Trail Camera

2. DEER, COYOTES, TURKEYS, and MORE!

WHITETAIL DEER – Odocoileus virginianus

Deer are a big part of our lives. There’s rarely a day goes by that we don’t see several of them while looking out the window or coming up the driveway. They can be very annoying by eating some of my favorite evergreens and my hosta plants, but there’s nothing to be done about that and we just have to accept it. Everyone in the family is a deer hunter. Venison replaces beef in our house. It’s probably been 30 years or more since I’ve bought beef in the store.

1-DEER EATING CEDARa
These three deer came into the back yard several days in a row to munch on the cedar tree. This pic was taken through the patio door while I was inside.

 

These two deer were foraging in the back yard. I took the pic through the kitchen window.
These two deer were foraging in the back yard. I took the pic through the kitchen window. All those tracks in the snow were made by deer.

 

1-DEER TONGUESHOTa
Another pic I took from inside the house. I’m always grateful, at times like these, that the windows are clean. I happened to have washed them just the day before!

The video below is of a couple of deer eating on the hillside right behind the house. Another “patio door” capture.

 

2010 JAN 29 TURKEYS DEER HILLSIDESa
A few years ago I had bird feeders hung in a tree in the back yard. The seed would fall to the ground below and turkeys and deer would come in to eat what they could. I’ve since changed my bird feeding tactics to eliminate seed spill, as it would draw in rodents as well.

 

A nice buck my husband shot one year.
A nice buck my husband shot one year.

 

This was the buck he got in 2015. There have probably only been six years in the last 45 when my husband hasn't bagged a deer.
This was the buck he got in 2015. There have probably only been six years in the last 45 when my husband hasn’t bagged a deer.

 

Our son and one of his recent bucks.
Our son and one of his recent bucks.

In Wisconsin, any kid that wants to go hunting must take Hunter Safety.  They usually take it when they are ten or eleven.  Then they can hunt with a licensed adult at their sides, within arm’s reach.  From ages 12 through 13 they can hunt with a licensed adult who is within sight and voice contact with them. At age 14 they may hunt without being accompanied by an adult. In 2014, her first deer hunt at age 11, our granddaughter Braiden shot a doe. In 2015, at age 12, she shot her first buck, and it was bigger than any other buck anyone in the family shot that season!

So proud of our granddaughter and the awesome buck she pulled down!
So proud of our granddaughter and the awesome buck she pulled down!

 

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Deer are hung in a tree after they are shot, for a few hours or more, to cool them down when you can’t get them into a registering station or to the butcher right away.

 

1-BUCK ON SADDLE 2aa
This nice buck was about 350 yards away from me when I took this pic. It was not deer season at the time or he’d have been hanging on the wall.

Bucks shed their antlers every year, usually starting in January and most of them will have lost their antlers by the end of March, depending on age and climate. Once they are shed, new antlers start growing. They emerging antlers are covered in a membrane called “velvet.”  This membrane provides amino acids, proteins, and other substances which promote growth. During the summer, higher levels of the male hormone testosterone cause a slow down in the antler growth,  and the veins and arteries around the velvet begin to shrink and cut off the blood and nutrient supply to the antlers. The velvet then dries out and begins to fall off. The buck helps remove the velvet by rubbing his antlers on tree trunks.

2004 JUN 21 BUCK IN VELVETa

BUCK FROM AFAR
I was on my 4 wheeler one day in early August and spotted this buck laying down at the edge of the cornfield. The yellow lines show where he’s laying, barely visible. You can see just the antlers.

 

BUCK UP CLOSE
Luckily, I had my camera with me, so I could take a close-up shot. His antlers are still covered in velvet. After taking the pic I went in the opposite direction, and he stayed snug.

 

I was in the family room watching TV and glanced out the window and saw this deer under my plum tree about 15 feet away. It ended up with more plums than we did! I took this pic through the window.
I was in the family room and glanced out the window and saw this doe under my plum tree about 15 feet away. She ended up with more plums than we did! I took this pic through the window.

 

DOE FAWNS VALLEY 1aaa
I was on my 4 wheeler with my grandson when we drove into The Park area in our valley and saw this doe with her fawns. I didn’t have time to adjust the settings on my phone camera because I was afraid they’d take off before I got a good pic. As it turns out, they hung out and I could have had time to get a better still shot.

My grandson got off the four wheeler and started walking towards the deer. It happened to be one of those rare years when we had a terrible mosquito problem. My grandson was so excited about the deer but had to keep  whacking the mosquitoes away. I didn’t want him to get any closer to them, because I was a bit worried the doe might attack him because she had two fawns with her.

 

1-FAWN VALLEY PEE 1a
This is one of the fawns from the pic above. It’s not often I’m able to get a pic of a wild animal stopping to relieve itself!

 

2011 AUG DEER FAWN 2a
One of the fawns in the pics above.

 

This doe in the back yard was having a "face-off" with our cat, Moonie. The cat won.
This doe on the hillside behind the house was having a “face-off” with our cat, Moonie. The cat won.

 

I came upon this fawn in the field south of the house. It was really too young to be without it's mother, but I didn't see her anywhere.
I came upon this fawn in the field south of the house. It was really too young to be without it’s mother, but I didn’t see her anywhere.

 

While winters can be hard on deer, the summer has its pitfalls as well. This deer is covered in deer flies. I'm sure it's also covered in deer ticks as well.
While winters can be hard on deer, the summer has its pitfalls as well. This deer is covered in deer flies. I’m sure it’s also covered in deer ticks as well.

 

A doe in August, photographed across the road at the edge of the woods.
A doe in August, photographed across the road at the edge of the woods.

When the snow gets really deep it’s tough on the deer.  Times like these, they are left with nothing to eat but pine needles.

DEER_BEDROOMVIEW_2998e

Unfortunately, a lot of deer don’t make it and die of starvation, as this little doe we found about 300′ from the house. Every time I look at this picture I wonder how difficult it was to just give up. She obviously balled up, trying to keep warm, but death over-took her.

DEER_DEAD

DEER FACTS: Wisconsin leads the nation in the number of “trophy” deer harvested. These are deer whose antlers (only the males have them), reach a certain spread and number of tines. Wisconsin is the all-time leader in Boone and Crocket (a deer scoring system) record entries for the last ten years.

Wisconsin boasts the nation’s largest single season deer harvest ever recorded: 615,293 in the year 2000.

In the last decade, more than 600,000 deer hunters have participated in deer hunting annually and harvested an average of 482,645 deer. In 2015 there were over 800,000 deer hunters out there.

Wisconsin has the largest corps of volunteer hunter education instructors in North America – 5,630 active instructors provide 12,000 courses annually to more than 30,000 students.

Wisconsin ranks seventh among states in the likelihood of deer-vehicle collisions. The odds of hitting a deer on a Wisconsin road are 1 in 77. Over 18,000 deer/auto collisions happend every year here. And yes, we have hit deer. Three times!

TURKEY – Meleagris gallopavo

Turkeys are native to  Mexico and North America. They are not imported species! It is not true that Benjamin Franklin lobbied for the turkey, instead of the eagle, to be our National symbol. Jefferson, Franklin, and John Adams were to select a design for the National Seal, but couldn’t agree on anything. It was turned over to William Barton, an artist, and he designed the seal with a golden eagle. Since that bird was also in Great Britain, and the war was still waging, they changed it to a bald eagle, a bird present only in North America, and Congress approved the design on June 20, 1782. It was not till a year after the Revolutionary War was over that Franklin lamented that he wished they’d chosen a turkey, as he said they were brave birds that  “would not hesitate to attack a grenadier of the British guards who should presume to invade his farm yard with a red coat on.” However, the eagle stayed.

We have quite a few turkeys around here. Not like it was 15 or 20 years ago, when flocks of 50 could be spotted on the hillsides. These days it’s nice to see a flock of 6 or 7. As they are ground nesters, the coyotes have taken a terrible toll on them.

Turkeys in the bad yard, scrounging for seed fallen out of the bird feeders.
Turkeys in the back yard, scrounging for seed fallen out of the bird feeders. Only the toms have that strange thing hanging down from it’s throat.  It’s called a “beard” and is actually a modified feather. These birds are in the video below.

The turkey on the right in the video below is called a “jake,” which means a young tom (male). You can see the beginnings of his beard starting on his chest.

On Friday, Feb. 19 2016, we had winds that were reaching 60 MPH. Apparently, the turkey in the photos below was trying to fly somewhere, and a gust of wind caught it and slammed it into the neighbor’s house. Her house is down at the base of our hill, next to our driveway. She called us around 3:30 PM to ask if we could come remove it, and told us it hit the house at 7 AM. If she had called us when it hit, we’d have been eating turkey for supper that night! But after it laid there 8 hours, without being bled out, we didn’t want to mess with it, so it went on the “dead critter pile” to lure coyotes.

Nice-sized female turkey. Wish we'd have been notified sooner so we could have enjoyed eating it.
Nice-sized female turkey. Wish we’d have been notified sooner so we could have enjoyed eating it.

 

It was terribly windy that day. The wind caught the tail and raised it up.
It was terribly windy that day. The wind caught the tail and raised it up.
 Amazing colors on the head.

Amazing colors on the head. Not really sure if the purplish color around the eyes and beak is natural or due to death.

GAME CAMERA PICS

We keep a few game cameras out in the woods just to see what’s coming along in the night. The main reason for them, of course, is checking out the bucks and the size of their racks in the late summer and early fall. We get lots of deer on the camera, but also raccoons and coyotes.  The deer pics are interesting.

Foggy night in December. The deer are often looking straight into the camera, because some of the cameras will make a faint noise when they take the pic.
Foggy night in December. The deer are often looking straight into the camera, because some of the cameras will make a faint noise when they take the pic.

 

It's always nice to see a big buck.
It’s always nice to see a big buck.

 

My beautiful picture
Our son got this buck during deer season the year after it was captured on the game cam. Part of it went into his freezer, and part of it is hanging on his wall! The dropped tine on the deer’s left antler, makes this a “non-typical” antler.

The pic below is the buck in the picture above. Our son got it in 2012, the year after it appeared on the game camera.

1-BUCK 1

 

Nice pic of a fawn from August, 2012.
Nice pic of a fawn from August, 2012. In the spring we throw a mineral block out in the woods. The deer really appreciate it, and we hang the camera near by so we always get a lot of nice pics.

 

It's early July, and this buck's antlers are still covered in velvet.
It’s early July, and this buck’s antlers are still covered in velvet.

 

We thought it was neat to see this fawn nursing.
We thought it was neat to see this fawn nursing.

 

Thesame fawn that was nursing above, with its sibling.
The same fawn that was nursing above, with its sibling.

 

These two turkeys showed up on the cam across the road. We used to have groups of 20 to 50 turkeys. Now we see maybe five or six at a time.
These two turkeys showed up on the cam across the road. We used to have groups of 20 to 50 turkeys. Now we see maybe five or six at a time.

Everyone around here hates the coyotes. When we moved here 45 years ago there weren’t any. None! Then, about 25 years ago we would hear one howling now and then. Now it’s every night. Coincidental with the increase of coyotes has been the notable decrease, and total absence in some cases, of several types of wildlife. Before the coyotes came, we’d hear the whippoorwills singing every night in the summer. We haven’t heard a single one in at least 20 years. Whippoorwills build their nests on the ground where the coyotes kill them.

Another bird that used to be so numerous that we’d hear them on a daily basis in the summer is the ruffed grouse. It has been gone for the last 20 years as well. It’s another ground-nester. Along with the  whippoorwill and ruffed grouse,  we have lost the bob-white quail. Formerly numerous, this ground-nesting bird is but a memory here. Turkey numbers have also been decimated. There used to be flocks of 30 to 50 or more birds out in the fields. Now we might see a group of five or six. Another ground-nester. I hate coyotes.

If we’re fortunate,  one of our hunting party will come across a coyote and shoot it during deer season. My husband and I have purchased a remote-operated coyote call and will be hunting them during the nights when there’s a full moon and it’s not freezing. When we find a dead animal somewhere we place it in a spot where coyotes will feed on it and where it is clearly visible from my son’s hayloft in his barn. He’s been able to get a few by sitting up there on full-moon nights.

On Jan. 31 2010, my husband was walking in the area of our park down in our valley and found a dead, almost totally eaten, little 3 point buck. On Feb 2, 2010, two days later, we were both walking down there and found a dead little nubbin buck, which hadn’t been eaten, but killed by coyotes.  At 5:15 PM on that day, my husband dragged the dead deer out into the field, not far from where we had a hunting blind set up. He went into the blind and waited to see if a coyote would come in, figuring he might be there a few hours. Only 35 minutes later, however, a coyote came up to feed on the deer, and my husband got it.

My husbnd had to wait only 35 minutes before this coyote came to feed on the deer which it had most likely killed within the past 24 hours.
My husbnd had to wait only 35 minutes before this coyote came to feed on the deer which it had most likely killed within the past 24 hours.
COYOTES ON THE GAME CAMERA

Most of the following pics have date and time stamps on them. Some are from our land across the road and some are on our property here by the house. The following pics were all taken at different times, and in different years.

My beautiful picture

My beautiful picture

My beautiful picture

The pic below was on a game camera that was put about 150′ behind our house. If you look at the time on the pic, 11:39 AM, it’s rather distressing to me to have a coyote so close during the day when my dog is often running into the woods if I am working in the flower garden outside.

My beautiful picture

The pic below is interesting. One morning in November my husband drove the four wheeler across the road to spread some manure he had in the cart. There had been a coyote laying down on the frost-covered grass, and he must have heard the 4 wheeler coming and left before my husband rounded the hill and saw it. It left its outline.

1-COYOTE OUTLINEa

 

It's always a good thing when you get "lucky."
It’s always a good thing when you get “lucky.”

 

My son got lucky during deer season, 2014.
My son got lucky during deer season, 2013.

 

Our son got lucky again in 2014 during deer season.
Our son got lucky again in 2014 during deer season. I touched up this photo a bit to hide the gore on its hip. I know many people are offended by dead animals. I don’t know why anyone would be offended by a dead coyote, though.

 

Raccoons always show up in great numbers on the cameras, too. They are another pesty animal, but since I put the new bird feeder in, and they can't get into it, we don't have them coming into the yard very often at all.
Raccoons always show up in great numbers on the cameras, too. They are another pesty animal, but since I put the new bird feeder in, and they can’t get into it, we don’t have them coming into the yard very often at all.

Every now and then a really odd animal shows up on the game camera!

Our granddaughter had been riding her pony and got off for some reason, right in front of the camera. I don't think she knew the camera was there.
Our granddaughter had been riding her pony and got off for some reason, right in front of the camera. I don’t think she knew the camera was there. She would have been 7 at the time.

 

This time she knew exactly where the camera was. She would often take off by herself and walk into the woods behind our house, where this picture was taken. She's being a smarty pants!
This time she knew exactly where the camera was. She would often take off by herself and walk into the woods behind our house, where this picture was taken. She’s being a smarty pants! She would have been 9 years old.

 

BRAIDEN GAME CAM 2013
Another game camera pimp out by granddaughter! This was on our property across the road. A year later than the pic above. She would have been ten.

 

CUTLER GAME CAM 2013
Our grandson had accompanied his sister on this particular walk into our woods. He would have been five years old.

Check out our next page on wildlife by clicking on the drop-down menu at the top of the page or click here:  OPPOSSUMS, RACCOONS, SNAPPERS, and MORE!