Wild Life & Times: August 2011 Edition

In this issue:

Best of Show: Ah... right there

Sculpture in the Hills

To say we had a pretty good show at Sculpture in the Hills would be a slight understatement. This was
our first time for this growing show now in its 4th year. Hill City, SD is a cozy little town with a population of only about 900 but boasts four art galleries and is quickly becoming an art collecting destination. A most pleasant surprise (shock would be more accurate) came when the shows jurors selected my Ahh... right there deer sculpture as their Best of Show.

After the show we took a couple days to go sightseeing in the Black Hills area. It had been 20 years since we last vacationed there with our girls. As before, we saw Mount Rushmore, Crazy Horse, Bear Country USA, and some of Custer State Park. Visiting Mount Rushmore was different for me this time. I gained a whole new perspective when I looked at it as sculpture and not just a national monument.

Dakota Nature & Art Gallery

New Gallery

The icing on the cake for our trip was when I was invited to be represented by Dakota Nature & Art
. It is a beautiful gallery right on Main St. in downtown Hill City, SD. Be sure to stop by Hill City
and the gallery if you're visiting the Black Hills.

Pair of fawns.

Pair of fawns I photographed in our backyard this summer.

Creature Feature – Whitetail deer summer groups

In late winter/early spring you always see herds of deer congregated around a remaining food source. Whitetail deer are not normally herd animals but the lack of wide spread food will bring them together for a short time. As soon as the vegetation starts to green up they spread out.

As spring settles in the makeup of the deer groups begin to shift. The bucks start to form all male bachelor groups where they lead a quiet summer regaining weight lost from the previous year's breeding season and winter. A friend of mine recently saw a bachelor group of 7 bucks on his southern Michigan farm. It is also believed this time of subdued lifestyle is also to protect antlers while they are soft and growing.

As the pregnant does establish their birthing territories they drive out last year's fawns, now yearlings. These yearlings are now on their own for the first time in their lives. Combine their wandering for a territory they won't get kicked out of and their lack of experience crossing roads and the result is a sharp increase in car/deer accidents in May and June.

The does are solitary for about six weeks or so until the fawns are big enough to travel. The yearling does, both barren and those with fawns usually rejoin their mothers to form matriarchal groups. Some yearling bucks end up in bachelor groups while others may join their tolerant mothers in the matriarchal groups.