Winter Visitor in Leadore

Okay, no carcasses this time. Just an old mule deer doe with the maze-running skills of a champion lab rat. We looked out the kitchen window one afternoon and she had worked her way past Bob’s gauntlet of fence panels toward the prize: the bird feeder. Once at the center of the puzzle, she has to avoid the guy wires that prevent the post from falling over. But the reward comes as she inhales the fallen millet and sunflower seeds. Problem is, it doesn’t stop there. She has been known to knock the bird feeder clear off and stomp on it.

We were careful not to go outside the house or let the dogs out while she was inside, lest she panic and hurt herself. Bob actually thought he had her outfoxed with this assembly, but no. Next day he had to improve it, which has finally done the trick. No soup for you, Muley! Bird food is for birds, chipmunks, Ratatosk the squirrel, voles and deer mice. I know, I know: we are already working on a better design so this doesn’t happen next winter. We need a taller, sturdier post that will put the feeder out of reach of a deer on its hind legs. Or something.

Next day: Outside and pissed off about it! 

24 Responses to “Winter Visitor in Leadore”

  1. Harley Says:

    Is she pregnant? She has a nice round belly!

  2. Virginia Says:

    I certainly relate to this story and pictures. We spend lots of time trying to keep the deer away from the bird feeders. Our deer fences around the bird feeders keep getting lower and lower as the deer push on them to get the bird food. And now we have the rabbits digging holes near our trees to make nests to have their babies. I guess that is the price we pay for wanting to enjoy nature in our backyard! We spend a lot of money on deer fencing just to grow our garden and watch the deer as they bed down right next to the garden fence. I wouldn’t trade it for living in town for anything.

  3. CQ Says:

    Louise and Virginia: I hope you feed them some deer treats OUTSIDE your fenced-in areas! Poor things — and this one may well have some babies in her belly, as Harley notes!

    • Virginia Says:

      Believe me, there is plenty of alfalfa hay for the deer to eat around our place and we have a momma and twins who bed down every night in our hedge behind the house. They have stripped our willows of leaves and attempted to strip the aspen trees until we fenced them. As far as feeding them deer treats – nope – not good for them.

      • Harley Says:

        That’s kinda cool Virgina. Around the ‘burbs’ of Chicago, much effort is put into keeping Bambi away from the veggies and flower gardens but I myself love catching a glimpse of the wildlife in our neighborhood. Except the chipmunks. There are a LOT of chipmunks….
        Well ok, I do enjoy watching them but still, there are A LOT of chippies hanging around!

      • Jim Says:

        There are a ton of Chipmunks in the Chicago area. Those things are suprisingly destructive too. I have seen sidewalks sinking due to their holes. They also have habit of eating our tomatoes off the vine and destroying plants and flowers.

      • Harley Says:

        Yeah, I think their biggest project is to see how quickly they can sink our house!

  4. wolf moderate Says:

    Now, now, it’s quite OK for rich liberals to own land in the mountains. Just DO NOT let the yucky cattle barrens have a bit on land…Think about it and it makes sense. Ummmm, well, some thinks it do.

    • Salle Says:


    • Steve C Says:

      How do you know how much money they have or what their political leanings are? Stop acting like a prick. I can’t believe you are still allowed to post here. If you disagree with this blog thats fine, state your opinion without trying to drag the entire conversation down into the gutter (your actual goal).

    • Ralph Maughan Says:


      So I have deleted some comments here, and “wolf moderate” is no longer welcome. I don’t want his apparent anti-white racism any more than any other kind of racism.

      • Ralph Maughan Says:

        Having spent this last weekend with Louise and her husband . . . she is hardly a person of great wealth, nor from Berkeley. She is White, and that is fine with me.

      • Harley Says:


        Are mule deer bigger than white tailed deer?

      • JB Says:


        Mule deer come in several varieties (aka subspecies) that range in size from (on the small end) blacktail deer (Odocoileus hemionus columbianus) to monster muleys (Odocoileus monsterous imaginationous), which primarily occupy the [minds of hunters in the] Rocky Mountains. 😉

      • timz Says:

        Mule deer are the largest of the Odocoileus Genus.

      • Harley Says:

        I’ve heard the Keys Deer (Odocoileus virginianus clavium) *I had to look that up lol!* are the smallest of the deer family and also endangered. So those deer pictures in hunter magazines with the massive antlers are probably Mule Deer?

      • timz Says:

        Not necessarily. I’ve seen some very large whitetails in Minnesota and Wisconsin.

      • Harley Says:

        ok gah, so many questions! So how can you tell from just a picture if it’s a mule or a white tailed if they don’t give an location? If it’s just a head shot? I know the tails are different. The ears, are they bigger on a mule? Or am I taking the interpretation of mule too literal? 🙂

      • IDhiker Says:


        Thank you for removing Wolf Moderate. His comments were often “beyond the pale,” divisive, and insulting.

  5. Steve C Says:

    Cool deer pics by the way!

  6. Phil Says:

    Harley: I was thinking the same thing of her being pregnant. Very beautiful Mule deer, though.

  7. Cody Coyote Says:

    I rarely photograph Mule deer in the wild these days. Don’t have to…they come to me and pose in the yard.

    I live one block off the 4-lane through downtown Cody Wyoming, population 10,000 and my place is at least 2 miles from the nearest city limits sign.

    There are maybe 200 deer that live in town full time these days. Ten years ago they were relatively rare and elusive. Now, they have their fawns in people’s yards and generations of deer are being raised in the city, not the country. The City of Cody formed an Urban Deer Task Force this past winter and sent out a survey to ask the community for input. Half the 1800 responses (!) were from folks who love the deer and want them left alone, the other half wants them ” managed”. [ You know how Wyoming wants to “manage” unwanted mammals.]

    I’m looking forward to this year’s fawns. At least I’ve learned what kind of flowers to plant so deer go eat somewhere else, from somebody else’s All You Can Eat 24/7 smorgasbord. Start with lots and lots of Marigolds.

    Wyoming is a Fence Out state. You can do that with vegetation if needed. Or strategic placement of predator urine ( mine).

    Except for the occasional young tom Cougar traipsing into town to nab lunch, the urban Deer present few health and safety issues beyond traffic hazards. About 25-30 get smacked by drivers every year, usually by inattentive drivers speeding. That’s more of a human problem, not a deer problem, to reckon with. Of course the uniformed officer ( read: Dogcatcher guy) having to pack off the carcasses might have another opinion on that.

    I tell Cody folk if they are serious about adding a little urban -derived venison to the meat freezer ( some do that , discreetly), the meat will taste odd and I would not touch the liver with God’s own knife and fork and all the ketchup in the world. Those deer have been feeding on lawncare products, lapping up oily water from the gutter, and ingesting who knows what else.

    But they do provide me some funny photos and hours of entertainment. Like the Wyo Game & Fish’s bumpersticker slogan says” Wyoming’s Wildlife: Worth the Watching”. And you don’t even have to go to the boondocks to do it.

    Can anyone say ” tourist attraction” to complement their urban rodeo and urban river raft experience ? We got those, too.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: