There are lots of strange, new noises living in the woods and I do my best to identify them. Powers of deduction, observation usually serve me well and I figure them out. But, there has been one disturbing noise that gets the dogs barking furiously, sometimes shakes the house, and is very loud. It only occurs at night but not every night and not at the same time each night. Sometimes it even happens two or three times in one evening. Rachel and Riley were visiting and Rachel was really concerned about the loud bang that shook the house last Wednesday at about 11:30 PM. So I decided to make more of an effort at identifying what was going on.
A nice feature of not too much snow that has packed down to an icy slushy consistency is that footprints remain for days. My footprints in the yard reflect a number of dog walking trips because Mason is still leash-bound. I looked down at my footprints that were from a couple of days and thought of that cartoon from the Sunday papers where the child is asked to do something that is very straightforward and ends up taking the longest most circuitous route possible. It was when I looked down from the porch into the yard that I realized I had a chance to see if there were animals on a path that led them to walk into the wooden pillars that support the deck. Or, maybe they bumped into the front of the house. Having narrowed down the area where the noise was coming from I was optimistic.
When I got home the other day I noticed tracks in the driveway. Clearly the turkeys have been coming and going across the top of the driveway. Not only did I have the track evidence but then Wednesday afternoon the dogs alerted us to about 10 turkeys walking across the front yard. I decided to take a long hard look at where I thought the noise was coming from and this time I had evidence. You can barely see them but there was clear evidence of at least two deer walking right along the front of the house. It appeared to be one large deer and one much smaller one as I followed the tracks around the side of the house across the driveway into the woods.
Mystery solved? I think so. It’s difficult to express in words how loud and violent the banging is. Imagine slamming a wooden door as hard as you possibly can against something else that’s made of wood. I’m satisfied that it is deer walking into the deck supports if not the deck itself. I saw a deer recently walking down the stairs so I suspect crashing into the gate at the bottom of the steps isn’t beyond the realm of possibility either. It serves to remind us that we have invaded the territory of all animals that live here and that they do not adapt easily to our presence. I just hope the deer don’t hurt themselves but am glad there is evidence to support my theory.