|An old Mule Deer resting in the shade of a pine tree.|
I watch the cycle of life play out everyday at the Painted Pony Resort. From the yearly arrival of the monsoons with new grasses and the greening of the desert, the yearly appearance of certain insect species, the birds nesting and raising young, and yes, to the loss of animals on the estate. Most evidence of animals that have become part of the food chain are birds, frequently the Collared Eurasian Doves that inhabit the estate. Large predators such as hawks often catch unwary doves and the remnants of their meals can be found in the form of piles of feathers. Small mammals such as rabbits are also frequent meals, but on occasion something larger dies on the estate. A guest recently found a Mule Deer that had found a comfortable spot under one of the pines next to the Bungalow for its' final resting place. The animal appeared thin with grey/white head and ears suggesting an older animal. It was unable to stand and only made feeble movements when I approached. There were no signs of injury so I set some water out for it in hopes it lack of vigor was the result of dehydration but soon realized that the animal was probably not going to survive. I decided to give the animal 24 hours to recover before getting out the rifle since I'm not a hunter and don't enjoy dispatching animals, though it has to be done sometimes. Upon returning the next morning the I found the deer has passed on and removed and buried the carcass out in the desert to recycle.