It's hard to believe that spring is just three weeks away when we really haven't had winter. I know. Most of you are happy that you haven't had to shovel your driveway or go to work on slippery roads. But being a skier, I have missed all that white stuff.
With spring just around the corner the grass will get green, and the animals of our fields and forests will give birth to a new generation. The DEC would like to remind all of us to leave the newborn, wild animals alone. They'll do just fine on their own.
I remember about 25 years ago, my son Randy brought a fawn down off the hill on his dirt bike. It sure was an experience for that little spotted fellow to be riding on such a noisy thing. I made him take the deer back up into the meadow and leave it. It wasn't long before its mom came along and moved the fawn to a safer spot. I'm sure he did just fine without our help.
A nearby farmer found a young fawn one day many years ago when he was mowing his field. He took it down to his barn where it was raised with a group of Holstein calves. During the second year of its life as a domesticated animal, the young buck grew a nice set of antlers. In September he rubbed off the velvet covering and polished them on the post in the stable. By November his hormones were raging. After all the rut was on, and he was just a little excited. One day as the farmer walked near the once-friendly buck, he used those antlers to push the farmer up against the wall. Soon the barn door was open and the deer was racing across the meadow in order to satisfy his lust. The farmer was lucky he only had a few bruised ribs.
A lady I know in Burlington had a pet woodchuck in her house. When you went to the door, he'd sit up on his hind legs and whistle before scampering under the couch where he made his home. I always thought that a regular doorbell on the outside of the house would have worked just fine, but to each his own.
I've known people with pet skunks that they've had descented, but they still smelled a little. I guess there's one good thing about having one of those black-and-white critters for a pet: it keeps the Kirby salesman and traveling religion peddlers away from the house.
One day I was traveling on the South Hill Road near Worcester. There was a nice buck standing along the side of the road. I stopped and opened the truck door. Before long the buck had his feet on the running boards of my truck and was eating chocolate chip cookies right out of my hand. The young buck wasn't hurt or anything like that. He was called Bucky and was saved by an animal rehabilitator in the area. Even though he was released into the wild, the deer sometimes liked to stand along the highway and beg for food. I never saw him after that little incident. Hopefully by fall he found a new place to hang out just a little farther from the highway.
All little animals are cute. They're like little kids. The trouble is darling little kids grow up to be teenagers and little animals grow up to be big animals that always have a wild streak in them. Wild animals don't need our help. Nature takes care of its own. Do them a favor and let wild animals be wild. It's the right thing to do.
Rick Brockway writes a weekly outdoors column for The Daily Star. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.