“And the Deer and the Antelope Play”
This week I published two posts about buffaloes and where they used to roam. Now we’re going to continue with the Home on the Range theme.
Miss Sugar and I live where the deer and the antelope play.
I am not sure what the songwriter meant because in my experience the deer and antelope do not play together, but they do kinda play within their respective species. While on the subject of species, I have been told that what the songwriter labeled as antelopes are technically pronghorns. Miss Sugar has studied up on all this and corrects me when I say antelope instead of pronghorn. I might have this wrong, but I think she said pronghorns are the fastest land animals in North America. Actual antelopes live in Africa or someplace outside of the Greater Livermore Metropolitan Area.
We see antelopes, I mean pronghorns, pretty much daily. They have a territory within which they migrate around. Our dogs like to alert us to the approach of pronghorns. Miss Sugar has taken lots of photos of them, but she must do that when the dogs have not noticed the presence of these shy creatures.
The deer are less predictable in their appearances. They stay in the trees more, it seems like, but sometimes they show up in the big hay meadow below our house. We have also seen elk there but this post is not about elk or moose neither because they are not mentioned in the song. Ask me sometime to tell y’all about our moose sighting and about the elk rack on our wall. I use antlers in all of my decorating — my what a guy.
Back to pronghorns playing, we have a horse that might be the fastest land animal in North America. I got Old Woody as a yearling with the idea that he’d make a good stud. We abandoned that idea when we started riding him as a two-year old. He makes a nice gelding. As a stallion, he had trouble keeping his mind off the girls, so the vet performed what some call “brain surgery” (which procedure is performed far from his head) in order to get his mind right.
One day Miss Sugar told me to look out the window. Which I did. What to our wondering eyes did we see but Woody sneaking up on some pronghorns. The other horses did not seem to care whether pronghorns trespass in their personal pasture, but Woody decided to do something about it. What he done required some critical thinking and problem solving, as well as athletic ability.
The pronghorned creatures were on a plateau grazing when Woody noticed them and Miss Sugar noticed him noticing them. As the scene unfolded, Woody went out an open gate to get from the barn area out to the pasture. He snuck up around the plateau without the prongs noticing. Then he popped up on the top where they were, which startled them, so they took off.
As I hinted at above, pronghorns are pretty darn fast. Well, so is Woody. He hooked on to the herd and ran wherever they ran. They sorta curve around as they run, like a wave. The bunch don’t go in a straight line. Woody kept up like he was part of the group until the pronghorns reached a barb wire fence.
Some folks might expect such graceful creatures to jump the fence. However, when I’m watching, they usually go under. There are places along our fences where you can see little paths where pronghorns duck through. Woody lacks that ability but at least he is smart enough to know it so he stopped at the fence. Then he trotted back to the other horses, kinda lookin proud.
Woody The Pronghorn Chaser! On this particular ride, we scared an elk out of a draw, but did not actually chase it. We just surprised it. It was bigger than Woody.