Thursday, October 13, 2011

Oh Deer! What Big Antlers You Have!

Back in August Hubs took a day off from Mr. Bumble and the Workhouse(bonus points if you get this literary association) and we took a field trip a couple counties away.
I had won in my Chinese Auction travels a gift certificate to Rolling Hills Red Deer Farm, so we took a drive to check it out.

You would think, who in their right mind would want to pay money to go see pastures of cute little deer when PA is chock full of those critters and you can see them everywhere from your back yard to along side the highways in the form of roadkill?

Well, these aren't the little fluffy tailed White Tail Deer that are indigenous to PA and most of the eastern part of the US.
These are Red Deer, which are NOT related to White Tail Deer.
Red Deer are indigenous to Europe and related to Elk.
Think a white tailed deer on steroids!

They are large deer with an elk's rack.  This guy must have been 7 foot tall including his rack....
We climbed aboard a hay wagon and were pulled along down dirt paths over hills and through dales to the various pastures to get an "up close and personal" tour of the deer.
First were the fields of nurseries of females and babies....

 Most of them were resting as it was midday and the babies were nursing or trying to if the moms would hold still.....

 But once the adults saw the wagon, the bolder ones came right up to it since they knew the strange looking creatures on it had deer treats for them.....


The females are so docile you can hand feed them.
But they are relentless like 3rd World country city beggars and not above stealing your bucket of food!  Thank goodness they don't want wallets and cameras....yet.....

Some hinds(that's a female red deer)even climb right up on the stairs on the back of the wagon to better bat their long eyelashes at you to entice you to give them a treat like this one who hit me in the back when I was standing too close to the back of the wagon.  This one was over 6 foot tall standing on her hind legs....

                 "Hey you!  You know you want to feed me!"


This one took the tact of resting her muzzle up on the side board, looking pitiful, and then snorting forcefully out her nostrils if you still ignored her.  For the sake of a nasal gunk-free shirt I did NOT ignore her for long!


What beautiful creatures....


Then it was off to the male deer pastures.
This group of stags was part of a massive group that was resting in a shady dale by the brook.  The guide told us to wave our buckets and they would come follow us.....so we did.....and they did......

 It made me a little wary when some of the males came right up to the back of the wagon waiting for snacks.  Luckily none of the stags climbed the back stairs on the wagon and shish-kabobed me!

We saw a few fights break out, as the stags jostled for position near the wagon.  I was too busy crapping my pants to get my camera out in time to capture a good photo of these two stag who pawed the air at each other and jousting their racks moments before....

                "Hey! That's MY parking spot....Back off!"


 The guide said that the ones that get too aggressive get sold off or put into the hunting program.  Yes, you can go there, pick out your animal, pay for him and go hunt him.  These critters are quite large and are sold by the pound and points(antler points), so a few thousand dollars later you have a freezer full of venison steaks.

 Most of these stag still had their velvet, though a few were in the process of shedding it.  I tried to get a picture of some of them but they wouldn't get close enough and it wasn't a pretty sight anyway.


 Some of the stags would let you gently touch their antlers while you fed them treats, like this guy....



The difficulty was feeding him while touching his antlers AND trying to get a photo of it.  Why oh why did I leave that second pair of arms at home!

This guy was quite friendly.  He let me rub his muzzle....as long as I kept feeding him.  Sounds just like any male of our species too, doesn't it?


Afterwards it was back to the Gift Shop.
Too bad I don't use Antlers in all of my decorating.......I guess because my name is not Gaston....

While we turned down $200 chandeliers, we did cart home some red deer venison burgers and hot dogs.
The Jerky samples were good but we don't have much call for eating jerky in our house.

Oh poop!....I just realized I didn't include that venison purchase in my food spending in August since Hubs put it on the credit card.
We haven't eaten any of the venison yet but I am told red deer venison is not gamey like white tail deer venison.  I'll let you know once we dig into it.

Sluggy

5 comments:

  1. Sounds like a wonderful day...

    Judy

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  2. Cool! We're big jerky eaters around here.
    Oh
    and ..
    nice rack!

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  3. What guy doesn't love a huge rack!
    I love these kind of farms. We have one close to here too but we didn't go this year. I guess we still have time, right?
    I'm glad you had a great time. m.

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  4. Amazing pictures of the deer. Those chandeliers seemed like a steal at $200, not that I have that kind of money or tastes.

    ReplyDelete

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