Sunday, December 07, 2008

Finding Sanoke's Deer and more Prairie Wandering

An ever warmer day today with sunny skies after 1100hrs or so. The temps flirted with the low 60s and didn't stray much south of the mid-50s. In other words, another great Colorado riding day. Snow is forecasted tomorrow and Tuesday so I rode.

Yesterday evening, I read this posting on, which I used to contribute to when I owned the Honda 750 Shadow. She was my first motorcycle and her name was Gretl. Anyways, I saw this posting titled: Word pic of the day - Riding through a herd of deer.

Here are Sanoke's aka John's words which painted a good "picture" of what he saw but did not have a chance to photograph:

From today's ride: I was out riding through the pine forests northeast of Elizabeth, Colorado. There's a nice loop road that some developer put in for a housing development that never seemed to get any houses. I enjoy riding the loop because it winds through some pines then goes out to a scenic view of the plains. There's never usually anyone out there except for today.

I came to a small clearing in the pines and there were about 25 deer off to the side of the road. I thought of stopping to take a picture but as soon as I put my foot down, they started to spook. I thought I'd just leave them be so I headed on down the road to enjoy the view. On my way back, the deer had moved so that they were grazing on both sides of the road. I've ridden through enough cattle herds on the open range that I knew the best way to get through them without spooking them was to take it slow and easy, no sudden moves and just kind of glide on through.

It was fascinating. About half way through a big old battle scarred buck walks out onto the road in front of me. He was missing part of his right antler and had obviously been in some fights. He stopped in front of me and took a good look. I began to think he was going to challenge me but he decided I wasn't a threat and moseyed on across the road. There were lots of wide eyed does watching me for a little bit, then they would go back to eating. There were feisty young bucks prancing around and off to one side was an old buck that had obviously passed his prime.

It really didn't take long to pass through the herd but the experience of seeing all those deer and how they related to each other was breathtaking. What a pleasant experience.

Happy Trails!

John was the one who introduced me to long solitary riding, exploring dirt roads and wandering off pavement to see what one can see. I posted a reply to his posting querying him where this spot was and it turns out its near the town of Elizabeth.

I road out towards this location around 1330, it was warmish, so I only had my windshirt on beneath my riding gear. Never did have a need for the insulated liner. Using Sanoke's directions, I found the development he mentions and damned if I didn't run into the herd of deer almost immediately!

I spotted these males, along with some does, off to the right. I parked and slowly got off my motorcycle to access my camera. Luckily they did not spook and I was able to get somewhat close.

The above young bucks were trying out their antlers on each other as I watched

I wonder if this was the Alpha Male Sanoke encountered?

I'd been so intent on photographing the above that when I returned to my motorcycle, I realized that the rest of the herd of deer had been on the opposite side of the road, probably watching me photograph the deer on the right side of the road!

The Rest of the Herd

As I watched, they got a little leery of me and proceeded to move away and cross the street a bit ahead of me, joining what I assume was the main herd in the trees on the right of the road I was on.

The does rushed across, the male "sauntered"

Once they deer had moved off deeper into the trees, I wandered about the development exploring the paved roads into empty culdesacs as Sanoke described above. Once I'd covered it all, I continued on CR154, heading East and found where it intersects with CR29.

Junction of CR154 and CR29

I decide at this point to follow CR29 North to County Line Road. CR29 is mostly packed dirt, some washboard and some gravel but not bad since it's a county maintained road. I was able to maintain 25-30mph on the road with no issues. There's a few ranches/farm houses along the road but mainly rural homesteads.

I'd spotted what appeared to be a radar golf ball enclosure to the NE and when I came upon CR174 I took it heading East and found the golf ball.

There were weather clouds closing in from the East now, so I doubled back to CR29 on which I continued North and eventually I did get to County Line Road. A nicely paved two lane road, which I rode at good speed back West until it intersects with Smoky Hill Road which I took back home via a meandering route that routed me through past the Gartrell Rd exit for E-470 and the Saddlerock Golf Club.

A nice little ride, less than 70 miles and perhaps 3hrs of saddle time. As you can calculate, I was in full "meander" mode today.


Jack Riepe said...

Dear Charlie6 (Dom):

The best way to view deer is through the scope on a loaded rifle, after securing as many permits as is required to eliminate these long-legged vermin.

I cordially invite you to ride up here, through the fields that line the back road into Valley Forge National Park. At dusk, you will easily find a minimum of 50 to 100 whitetail deer casually munching away in horse pastures, getting ready to run full tilt into some biker. This location is about three miles from the 2nd largest mall in the country.

Within a mile or two of this house, the deer are gathering in the bushes, just waiting for the evening rush hour. There is no hunting in any of these places and the stupid people who live here are advocating deer birth control schemes, incentive plans whereby the deer are offered money to live someplace else, or simply taking down the deer crossing sings, so the animals will stay out of the street.

The community I live in licensed a special bowhunting season to kill these animals in the open spaces between people's yards. The town hall meetings were like riots. These people were yelling and screaming about the savage action taken by the town. A month earlier, they were complaining about the damage the deer do to landscaping and higher insurance premiums to deer strikes with cars.

I suggest introducing tigers to neighborhoods like mine. Once the deer are gone, the tigers will also thin out the herd of residents too.

Fondest regards,
Jack Riepe
Twisted Roads

Charlie6 said...

yeah, I can empathize with ya Jack...if they were that plentiful around here I probably would not go "seeking them" as I did this day.

I like the tiger idea, however, how do they id the deer-huggers from the normal folks who ride motorcycles? : )