Thursday, August 25, 2011

Comings and Goings - Ungulate Style

The Gaetz Lakes Sanctuary is surrounded on three sides by a chain-link fence. This leads to lots of questions regarding how the deer, moose and other animals get in and out of the Sanctuary. We know they go over the fence. There have been many many observations of deer jumping clear over fences as high as eight feet; from a standing start.

What we didn't know, was exactly where they were leaping over the fence. Well, now we know the location of at least one entry point.

I took this picture on the east side of the staff parking lot. As you can see the ground level is almost the same elevation as the top of the fence; meaning the deer don't need to jump as high in the air. They just need to "go long". On the near side of the fence there is a worn area that suggests it's the launch point. The far side of the fence has the landing pad and game trail leading away from it. The entire leap is 3 1/2 feet high and 7 feet long.

The upshot of this is that while the Sanctuary is fenced, animals have little trouble coming and going as they please. Given that the Sanctuary's deer and moose population fluctuates throughout the year we aren't terribly surprised. What we didn't know was that one of the entry points was right beside our parking spots and that if we arrived a little earlier in the day or left a little later in the evening, we'd probably see the leaping deer in action.

No comments: