8/22/2014 7:30:00 AM Ced Vig's Wisconsin Woodsmoke
By Ced Vig
Naturalist Ced Vig wrote a weekly outdoors column for this newspaper for many years before he passed away in the fall of 2010. With the blessing of his family, we are republishing excerpts from some of his much-loved columns. We hope our readers enjoy a taste of Ced's wit and wisdom.
The bucks have been growing new antlers since last April. It has been found that these antlers have been growing as much as a half-inch daily. Some biologists believe it takes as much out of buck's body (such as calcium salts) to produce a large set of antlers as for a doe to produce a pair of fawns.
When buck's antlers are growing, they are very sensitive to the touch, since the blood vessels are lying just beneath the surface of the velvet. During this growing period, the deer do not like to have their antlers touched. They become recluses and move around in the areas where they will not be bothered and in places where they will not be bothered and in places where they will not need to travel through the brush.
In a few weeks growth will cease; the antlers will harden, and the blood supply will be turned off. The velvet will harden, crack and dry up. During this time the velvet will fall or be rubbed off, and the buck will begin rubbing and polishing his antlers for the breeding season.
Nature's Two-Gun Terrors
The summer's skunklets are approaching the size of their mothers. At the age of two weeks, they are capable of discharging their two scent glands located near their rectum. Contrary to popular opinion, skunks are not trigger happy. They're friendly little stinkers! In years past it was not uncommon for them to become household pets.
An adult skunk can hit the bull's eye at 15 feet. His two six shooters are capable of several discharges but it takes him a week to reload. The skunk's discharge is a sulfur-alcohol product - butyl marcaption. It can cause temporary blindness if it gets in one's eyes, burning and smarting for as long as an hour.
When you meet a skunk on a woodland path, it reacts by stomping its feet. It's an animal of few words and gets into firing position in a few seconds. It raises its tail and turns both its head and rear end toward you. It may hiss. That's the time for you to get going.
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