The Raccoons have gone into torpor, which is sort of a voluntary hibernation. If there's snow or ice on the ground, not a single raccoon will come to the Wildlife Buffet Gary runs by the pear tree out back. (Latest dish: Purina ONE Turkey and Venison Formula). If it's temperate, above 40, we still get about five raccoon. Just the local ones, not the dozen or so that take the sewer to our yard.
Since I know how much Gary will miss the animals, one of his Christmas presents is a bottle of doe estrus. I imagine he can spray it on the pear tree and we'll get a slamming buck scene at the Buffet. (Of course if we do we'll take the venison off the menu).
I've really felt the loss of the raccoons, and was hoping for some deer to fill the emotional gap, so on the drive home Christmas Eve I made a point to crane my neck so I could see if there were any deer behind us in the special deer field on Pitman Hill.
There were none. That's why I sighed, "No deer ... " and turned my face to the road ahead, where there was a giant deer running directly across our path.
I saw the deer before Gary did. I gasped, instead of what Gary argued would have been a better reaction: screaming "DEER!" Still, my gasp alerted him and he was able to swerve into the opposite lane and avoid hitting it / totalling our car / ruining our impending road trip to Nashville - Asheville.
This Christmas Eve deer sighting follows the New Year's First Footing of 2007 and the Thanksgiving Deer Encounter of 2008. Deer running back and forth between deer parties on major holidays, I guess that's what explains it.