We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
A reposted deer hunt note from 2007 from our contributor Gwynnie:
Gwynnie got to return this August to an annual hunt on one of California’s last great Spanish land-grant ranchos for coast Black-tailed Deer (Odocoileus hemionus columbianus), also known as Columbian black-tailed deer.
The Black-tailed Deer is currently considered a subspecies of the mule deer and can interbreed with the Mule Deer (Odocoileus hemionus hemionus) where their range overlaps. They share many similarities but are much smaller than a Mule Deer and their ears are smaller too. They are called Black-tailed deer because the bottom two thirds of the tail is black. Up higher, where the tail is attached, the fur is brown and under the tail is whitish. The general body color is reddish to greying-brown (with black hairs interspersed in winter) and the underside of belly, chin, neck patch are white. The brownish color camouflages the deer in the forest and field edges where it lives.
Habitat in the Coast Range of California is often as shown in the photo, where they browse oak trees, especially black oak. Black-tails also feed on tender grasses, herbs, branch tips, and new leaves in spring and summer. In winter, they eat Douglas fir, western cedar, Oregon yew, trailing blackberry, red huckleberry, and salal branches.
Shooting is usually long-range, and the .270 or the .308 are ideal for shots from 75 to 200 yards. The .243 is OK for the deer, but inadequate for the 300-pound European wild boar that have infested Northern California and are part of the alarming collapse of new oak tree growth – they love acorns. One State scientist is predicting wide-spread extinction of oaks based on the current trend.
Gwynnie’s buck, which died instantly from a 75-yard head shot and rolled 100 yards into a precipitous canyon, was a forked-horn, and weighed 116 pounds field dressed. The California State biologist performing her post-hunt autopsy testing for parasitic infections said he was probably 3-4 years old. Other dressed-out bucks ranged from 90 to 118 pounds.
Yes, it is dry. The state is almost entirely a chaparral environment, semi-arid, contrary to what you might have been told or sold. The brown grasses are brown because they are a European import planted to feed livestock, mostly cows that arrived with the Spanish. The native grasses are evergreen sedges, lovely to look at all year long, unpalatable to cows, but nearly all supplanted by the European cousins (one estimate: 2% native grass lands remain) 'cause even though the European species can't stand the dry California summer they are very much faster off the block in the spring rain and have been edging out the natives for the last 200-odd years.