Last week I had to make a few trips to Gunnison and it was almost like taking the drive 30 or 35 years ago. Deer were everywhere. Back those many years ago the trip would be made more interesting by watching deer in every open space and pasture along the way.
Then after some devastating winters the deer population was severely diminished and before it could fully recover we would be hit with another bad winter. These bad winters coupled with unregulated hunting kept our deer population at dangerously low levels.
Last week’s trip was very refreshing seeing deer almost everywhere you looked. One alfalfa field had hundreds of does with their young healthy fawns at their sides getting ready for winter. Many young bucks were among the deer we were seeing. These young bucks thirty years ago would have sent hearts racing thinking they were real trophies and in those days they would have been.
Since limited hunting was installed 10 years ago these young bucks have been given an opportunity to reach maturity and now we have some incredibly beautiful older male deer. These older male deer are the main reason we have the healthy fawns along side their mothers in that alfalfa field. These older mature buck along with maturity have become smarter so you don’t see them along the roadway until after hunting season.
It was very exciting seeing the deer as it had been in the past. The only thing missing was the rabbits. Years ago you would see hundreds of rabbits on a trip to Gunnison and suddenly they disappeared and now it is a rarity when you see rabbits on the road. We don’t know what happened to the rabbits but maybe, just maybe, they’ll make a return like the deer have. It would make our Gunnison trips a little more interesting.