By Alkali Springs correspondent
With hunting season over, we have heard the usual annual grumbling that all the really big deer have migrated to Beaver Creek Park where they are protected from being killed. We don't know about that but of late we have been seeing some really big bucks both in the park and on the road from Havre to the park. Every morning that we have traveled the road we have seen some just around dawn except for the mornings that the wind is blowing.
Those mornings we never see a deer anywhere. That leads us to the conclusion that deer don't like wind. Not that we blame them. Folks from Kalispell come over here to hunt and we hear them complain about their winds at home. We keep our mouth shut but when they get out of their rig at, say, Cut Bank on a normal windy day, then they realize what wind really is. Anyhow, where we travel, there do not seem to be any fewer deer after hunting season than there were before. So maybe the deer have gotten elusive or there are just loads and loads of deer in this country.
One fellow was telling us the other day that he saw a couple of bobcats in Beaver Creek Park. This is a real treat because usually those nocturnal animals are not seen, leading to much speculation as to just how the bobcat population is doing in the beautiful Bear Paws. He saw the animals, one on each side of the Beaver Creek Highway, just after dawn. It was a moment he will not forget for a long time.
It reminds us that if you spend enough time in the mountains or going up and down mountain roads, you are going to see lots and lots of wildlife. One winter day a few years ago we were traveling south on the Beaver Creek Highway just below Rotary Hill and along loped a deer beside our car with a huge eagle on its back. If that wasn't a sight for sore eyes. To this day we have not forgotten how that looked.
Or consider the time that we were in our tiny gray chalet high up on the mountain early one winter morning when a deer came bounding by chased by a coyote. Just up the hill from us, the coyote got the deer down and was poised for the kill. We, dressed in our pajamas, ran outside with a broom, got up close to the coyote and hit him over the head several times until he slunk away. The deer just lay there gasping for breath. The coyote had run him so far that he just gave up, exhausted. We saw a tiny bit of blood but not much so trudged back into the cabin. That afternoon, there he was eating some grass alongside of a snow patch and we think he did just fine.
It was another time of being at the right place at the right time. We have learned the trick of that is to be out there as much as possible, traveling up and down roads, armed with camera, just looking around.
You try that and the rewards will be great. Maybe not the first day, but it will happen. Guaranteed.
Have you noticed the huge amount of geese flying overhead during the last couple of weeks? There are two theories as to why. Some say it is because we have only started to have winter and they had not yet left.
Others say we are going to have such a humdinger of a winter when it does come that everything is leaving. One lady out in the mountains reported that she even saw a flock of snow geese flying over. Now that is unusual.