Sunday, February 25, 2007

Patches, a young Piebald Whitetail buck.

Winter of 2003, a young piebald with spike antlers showed up in our field. It kept returning and seemed to like one particular area of our field, where it would stay and browse through the evening hours. He reminded me of a Shetland pony the way he was built, stocky and short. He was mostly brown with patches of white on both sides of this hind quarters as well as smaller patches at the top of his shoulders and here and there. Hence, his name of Patches.

The other young yearling bucks, just like human kids, would bully Patches and chase him off. I guess they realized he was the new kid in the block and different. Patches was a quiet little fellow and kept to his own small special spot and finally the others seemed to leave him be, but if he tried to venture to where others were browsing he would get pushed away, time and time again. Then one day, as I was watching, a yearling bully gave Patches a head butt and pursued him. Patches took off running down the field and suddenly he put on the brakes, stopped short, turned and faced his bully, as if to say “Hold on here, I have had enough of this, I am not running any more.” It must have surprised the bully yearling because it stopped, turned and ran the other way! This showed me bullies will be bullies as long as allowed to act that way, but when confronted they will run the other way! At least this was true in this case.

Patches stayed around throughout that winter. The following winter, 2004, Patches appeared again, his antlers had not developed much more than the previous year and were spikes again. His body however had really filled out and looked even more like a Shetland pony. The photo above was taken in 2004 with my scouting camera in the woods. He had become friends with the other locals now and all was well between them. Patches still had his special little corner of the field he would spend hours in browsing.

October 28, 2005, Patches showed up sporting a little 7pt rack. This was the last time I was to see him, he did not return again after the Maine hunting season. Whether he was hit by a vehicle, taken by a predator, animal or human, I will never know but it sure was a privilege to have observed this young piebald for this short time. Perhaps some day in the future I will have the honor of seeing another Piebald. They are not as rare as one would think. I hear others talking and showing photos of a special Piebald in their backyards, year after year.

Take care and enjoy your day :) Coppertop

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