A herd of deer came by at dusk. There were ten of them in the group, all munching on the corn that I put out earlier. I scanned the group carefully, checking out each deer in detail as I looked for the doe with the broken leg from the earlier post. At first I only counted nine, and they all walked fine. But then I saw her, back on the edge of the pack. There was no mistaking her as with every step, the broken leg twisted out from under her, making her stumble. Cautiously, she came into the open, stopping right where I'd seen her two nights ago. But she was hesitant to come in. Much as she seemed to want the corn, something was holding her back. I stood at my back patio door, rifle at ready. I just had to slide it open ever so slowly.
She bent down to take some corn--corn that I'd thrown to that spot just for her. But as she did, another larger doe charged her and drove her back away from the food. Dammit! For a second, I thought about dropping that deer just as a payback for her meanness. But that's nature. And I had another job to do.
The broke-leg doe inched back towards the corn. She was again about ten yards out. I resumed sliding the door open slowly. A few of the deer eyeballed me but none of them jumped off; they're used to me for the most part. But stalking one deer alone is easier than one in a herd. Whereas most of these deer are fairly be resistant to startling, the whole herd tends to scatter if any deer startles. And just as I was bringing the rifle up again, one of them startled and the whole herd flushed. The deer scattered off in ten different directions, Broke-leg among them. I missed her again.
I spent the next half hour sitting on a chair in my darkened kitchen with the door open, waiting with my rifle ready. Half of my house is now twenty-five degrees, the same temperature as the back yard. Most of the deer eventually came back for the corn. She wasn't one of them.
That's strike two.