Prey Drive

An upsetting evening yesterday. The dogs were continuously barking to the North of the house, so they either had something treed or cornered. I hesitated to investigate since we'd had the bears come through just a few days ago, and the dogs have treed a mountain lion before, but that's another story.

When the dogs wouldn't come when I called (no surprize) I finally made my way over to the ten acres. As I got closer to where they were making their noise, I heard a little, lamb-like cry and the barking suddenly stopped. Although I wanted to see what was going on, I still couldn't be sure I wasn't walking towards a mother bear, so I came back to the house.

As I got to the driveway, Howard pulled up, coming home from his business trip to Helena and Red Lodge. Jessie the border collie mix came home behind me, and she had a blood smear, but no injury on her front leg. I told Howard what had been going on and he got his .44 and walked back up the hill. When he got to the draw, Rowdy the Carolina dog mix dropped their "prize" - a little whitetail fawn. I picked up the poor little soul's body, and carried it back to the garage.

Howard, a life-long hunter is however, very sentimental about the wildlife around the house, and couldn't even look at the dogs. My regret is that I didn't go ahead and investigate. I might have been able to save the fawn. It was much worse a couple of years ago, when I was hiking with the dogs on a neighbor's acreage, and they startled a doe and fawn. Despite the doe's efforts at diversion, they zeroed in on the fawn, this one smaller than yesterday's. My shrieking at them to stop had no affect, but I was finally able to grab them by their collars, and in full prey drive mode they dragged me through the bushes, and wouldn't even back off the little body when I hit them with my hiking pole. I got the fawn away from them, but it had been badly shaken, and it was too late. Gathering some rocks the best thing I could do was try to bury it, and later shed my tears.

So I have learned that June is a cruel month, and keep my hikes to the area close to the house.