A Deer Story

This is a story I’d love to share. It’s about some wild animals (maybe no so wild) that populate our town of Cedaredge Colorado. Cedaredge is on the south slope of The Grand Mesa.

Last Friday, I went out to the street to get the morning paper just before dawn and it was just getting light. Our motion detector light was on in the driveway. I thought that this was strange and looked about to see what had triggered it, as I hadn’t gotten that far. I saw a buck deer move behind the scrub oak thicket in the vacant lot next door. So that was my answer.

Later in the morning, I again started out the front door to get the mail. There again was that mule deer buck, but he was lying in the shadeed lawn about ten feet from the doorstep, I watched him, and he watched me. He didn’t seem to be afraid. Does and fawns are often in our yard , but bucks are not. My going to the mailbox didn’t bother him. The bucks antlers had four points on each side and were in velvet and obviously were still growing. Carol Ann took some pictures as he was a handsome buck. Later, he up to move to a shadeier spot and we watched him. He was obviously injured. When he moved it was very difficult as his right rear leg dangled loosely. It was broken just above the knee. With our next door neighbors we saw that the buck was in very poor shape. His backbone and ribs jutted out. With that crippled leg he couldn’t browse enough to eat. We talked that he looked to be suffering greatly and should be put-down. The local police were called as well as the animal control . The came out but said that they couldn’t shoot the buck unless he couldn’t get up. We all agreed just to let nature take its course, but we would probably need to find away for disposing of his corpse if the deer died on our properties.

We didn’t see the buck for a day and assumed that he had wandered off to die. Then a surprising thing happened. Six mule deer bucks came up the trail in our backyard from the creek. This was a very unusual thing to happen in August. Two bucks would be considered to be trophy animals by ang hunter, Two bucks had racks of six points on each sid and two bucks were yearlings with only knoby antlers. We watched them trom our patio and they watched us with no concern. Every Spring we see newborn fawns come out of the wild brush along the creek. so we have been accustomed to the wild deer in our backyard not being afraid of us. We never try to feed them or try to make them pets, but they have learned to not fear us. We think that these six bucks may have been born in the thickets and learned the lay of the land and the fact that they were safe here.

Last night Carol Ann and the neighbor Pat, found the carcass of the crippled buck just off the trail where the six bucks came up. We think that this highly unusual incident of six bucks being on the trail where the injured buck died or was dying was not a coincidence. Those six bucks , of different ages, were there to be with their dying: friend, brother, cousin, uncle, or other. How the dying buck was able to communicate to the group of six his exact location is one of the many mysteries of the animal world that we humans have yet to learn.

Yes, we and our neighbors must still dispose of the remains, but I don’t mind so much now that I have a story and a mystery to tell over and over.


Gold rushes.

Gold rushes during the 19th century excited people to the extreme. I have studied the major ones: California, Colorado, Montana, and Alaska. As an author, I have tried to catch not only the spirit but the historic fact in my fictional novel: THE MAN WHO MOILED FOR GOLD. It is available through Amazon.com in both paper back and ebook format. It is also available as an audio book through Audio.com and other book sellers.

The Wyakin Trilogy

Bear 2

Native American tribes have names for the animal spirit guides that helped them deal with survival in the wilderness and protect them during conflicts. The spirit world was very real to them in all their activities. Young men and girls seeking maturity would go, alone, to wild places on spirit or vision quests. Often, they were visited by animal spirits. Sahaptin speaking people of the Pacific Northwest, such as the Nez Perce, called these animal spirits “wyakin.” The Wyakin Trilogy follows a spirit-bear-wyakin through all books along with the nineteenth-century America prevalent themes of racial and religious bigotry, hate, fear, and ignorance.

In Book One, Legend of The Wyakin, a prologue sets the scene with a father and son encountering an ancient grizzly bear and Jewish immigrant boy as specters in the wild Missouri River Breaks country of central Montana in modern times. This life-changing event causes them to research and tell the stories of the boy becoming orphaned and stranded by cholera, greed and murder in the gold rush period of Montana Territory of 1865. In his loneliness, the boy seeks the companionship of an ancient grizzly, and then acquires an Indian friend/brother. The grizzly brutally kills a murderer as it protects the boy, but the Indian boy is wounded. After taking the Nez Perce boy to his buffalo hunting band, the Jewish boy is adopted by his band’s shaman, who recognizes the strange boy, with his spirit-bear wyakin, as his predicted successor.

In Book Two, Legend of The Dreamer, the boy matures, learning to be a healer/shaman. The spirit-bear wyakin intervenes to save the boy and guide his decisions. Visitations from and into the spirit world cause the now-young man to adopt many beliefs of the cult known as “Dreamers.” A Christian Nez Perce girl enters his life, but their love is thwarted by religious and cultural conflicts standing in the way of marriage and happiness.

In Book three, Legend of The Shaman, deeply in love with the Christian Nez Perce girl, the now mature protagonist is torn by conflicts between his adopted people and the invading white man’s culture and religion. War erupts between the non-treaty Nez Perce bands and the army. Staying with his adopted people as the bands healer/shaman, the protagonist is finally able to marry the Christian girl. The army makes a surprise attack, and his wife of two days is killed along with his Nez Perce brother in a brutal massacre.

Still torn between loyalties, he continues with the Nez Perce bands as they trek across Montana toward what is now Canada. Following a final battle just short of the border, Chief Joseph surrenders his people, but the protagonist’s band continues on to join Sitting Bull’s Sioux in Canada. The protagonist completes his journey by returning to the Missouri River Breaks, much as he left it, 12 years earlier — without a people, but still watched over by his wyakin.

The trilogy uses log books and journals to fill in information and set the scenes in historic context.