Early on the morning of November 7, 2005, I was putting seed in the bird feeders at our home near Warsaw when I heard leaves crunching in the woods on our side of the railroad. A doe was making her way through the woods. She walked gingerly up the bank of the tracks and glanced back toward the west before stepping daintily over the tracks and disappearing.
Suddenly, a young buck, sporting small antlers, came dashing through the trees from near where the doe had stood, and emerged from the wooded area near our south property line. I heard a strange sound and looked back toward the tracks. A very large buck with a large rack was right behind the young buck, snorting viciously, his head down. Steam shot from his nostrils. He looked ferocious, and was no more than 30 feet from me. He didn’t see me but my instinct was to run, which I did (not wishing to get caught between two competing bucks), toward the side of the house. Both bucks then noticed me and stopped.
I stood near the northeast corner of the house while the three of us sized each other up. After a very tense minute, the large buck wheeled around and headed back toward the tracks. He made his way up the bank and crossed over the tracks to the east, on the trail of the doe. I looked back to where the young buck had stood. He had vanished. I looked again toward the tracks, hoping to see the large buck again but he, too, had disappeared. Suddenly, a small furry creature ran up the railroad bank and dashed hell-bent-for-leather south down the center of the tracks. It was a red fox, the white spot on his tail twitching up and down with every stride.
I stood there, watching him disappear in the distance and wondering what else might awake in the woods that morning.