I was out for a short wander the other day, and decided to take a quick shortcut by following a frequented deer path. I made my turn and noticed the scratch markings shown below on a Norway Maple sapling. Apparently, a buck came through to scrape the velvet off his antlers.
And about 8 yards further, I saw another scuff mark. There were also some fresh droppings in the area, as well.
I must admit that curiosity got the better of me, so I continued on, hoping to see this magnificent animal in the undergrowth. However, off to my right I caught glimpse of squirrels moving excitedly about forest floor beneath a stand of Eastern White Pine and Norway Spruce.
Now I see what they were rummaging around for – walnuts. This scattered pile was right beneath a Black walnut tree at the edge of the conifer cluster. I think I’ll take a few and have a snack :).
Man, there is nothing quite like the smell and taste of Black Walnuts…delicious :). As you can see, I cracked these open with a heavy rock, since the shells are very thick. I only took a few to nibble on – the squirrels can have the rest.
After my brief munch, I moved back on the deer trail, meandering stealthily through the bushes and making as little noise as possible so that I could hopefully approach the animals without scaring them off. My careful treading paid off, and up ahead a buck charged out of the undergrowth, apparently thinking that I was also a buck. But once he had a better view of me, he quickly turned around and disappeared the way he came. A few seconds later, I saw him and his girlfriend trotting away. Too bad I didn’t have my camera out in time. Still, those Black Walnuts made the detour well worth it ;).