Our love of deer and our need for safety

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Outdoors enthusiasts enjoyed a special glimpse of nature recently, after local photographer Jennifer Davis happened on a herd of deer getting ready to take a dip in the Mississippi River.

On Saturday, Oct. 31, Davis was out early in the morning attempting to capture some shots of steam rising off the water when the group of about 12 animals approached the bank and, one by one, gracefully launched themselves into the current. They more or less looked like a clutch of ducklings paddling almost single file toward the east and Illinois.

"It was weird," Davis told reporter Tyler Graef. "They knew what they were doing. ... They ended up on the same spot (on the opposite bank)."

Davis, who was emotionally moved by the moment, captured the rare swim and posted it on social media.

A short Southeast Missourian story and corresponding Facebook posts were shared and seen by tens of thousands of people. The popularity of the images is a reminder of how much people in this region of the country appreciate nature.

It's also a good reminder that rifle hunting deer season is nigh, which means the deer will enter rut and will be on the move. Please be extra vigilant on roadways, especially at night, keeping a lookout on those highway shoulders. Deer move more during twilight and nighttime hours. Be careful.

Firearms season begins Nov. 14 and closes Nov. 24.

During that time, hunters will need to remember their training from hunting safety courses, which means wearing orange hats and vests, carrying their rifles responsibly, and only shooting when they know it's safe to do so. But anyone who is out walking in rural or wooded areas during that period would be prudent to wear some hunter's orange. Better to be safe than sorry.

Fall is one of the best times of the year to enjoy nature, which includes the deer hunting season. Let's keep it enjoyable by putting safety at the fore.

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