Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Mating on their minds

We all know about the aggressive behavior of male deer during mating season, but the other day I got what to me was a surprising look at doe behavior as well.

I was walking past my kitchen window late in the afternoon and noticed that three mature does and a juvenile had jumped the fence into my back yard. But their actions were strange. Instead of calmly grazing, chewing cud or just lazing about, as is usually the case, the grown-up does were skittish, irritable, and giving each other grief.

They'd make fake runs at each other, getting in the victim's space and causing it to stalk away. Once a doe came up behind another one, reared up, and made a couple of quick kicks at it, missing by only an inch or so. The does also would walk right up to another's behind (much to her obvious displeasure), and, nose nearly touching the target, sniff up that natural pharmacy of sex signals under production this time of year. Were they checking out their rivals' potency? ... readiness? ... allure?

I know it can be a mistake to do the anthropocentric thing, but it sure looked as though these does were jealous of each other. (The whole scene reminded me of a bunch of girls I knew in high school!)

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