My wife is being driven crazy by a male. Par for the course, but this time he isn't me. It's a male deer, a buck. Or bucks. She doesn't know how many are doing what comes naturally to them this time of year.
Marking their territory. Which, unfortunately for Laurel, includes our ten acres in rural Oregon.
She's planted countless native trees on our property, protectively watering them during dry spells, netting them when they're young, spraying Deer Off in the fall in an effort to divert bucks' attention away from the enticing trunks.
After all, the bucks should have their eye on even more desirable life forms. The Wikipedia article on white-tailed deer says:
Males compete for the opportunity of breeding females. Sparring among males determines a dominance hierarchy. Bucks will attempt to copulate with as many females as possible, losing physical condition since they rarely eat or rest during the rut.
Well, that may be. But they sure take time out to rub on trunks with their antlers, all too frequently wrecking the tree.
The bucks favor deciduous trees, like maples, where there aren't any branches on the bottom four feet or so of the trunk. A small tree that bends must be especially rub-alicious, as these are where Laurel finds most of the markings.
Through some malicious deer sixth sense, the bucks have an uncanny ability to know which trees on our property have been planted, and which have grown up naturally.
They strongly favor the former, undoubtedly in an effort to drive Laurel – our neighborhood's Janie Appleseed – crazy.
The only good news in this annual buck Marks-A-Lot, which is more damaging this year for some reason, is that the deer aren't on LSD.
Today I browsed through a recent issue of New Scientist and came across an article about the craziest scientific experiments of all time.
#1, according to Alex Boese, is elephants on acid.
Indeed, the notion of tripping out with an elephant is more than a little disconcerting. I spent many enjoyable hours in the '60s watching walls melt and change colors. However, dropping acid with a 7000 pound bull elephant would seem to have a high probability of turning into a bad trip.
There's more than anyone needs to know about the experiment here.
The goal was to find out if LSD would induce musth in an elephant – highly aggressive behavior that's accompanied by (no surprise) hugely elevated testosterone levels.
Sadly, the main thing the scientists learned is that LSD can be fatal to elephants. Especially if you give them a dose that translates into 30 times the effective oral dose for a human of the elephant's weight.
I don't know how male deer would react to acid. They could very well go into a freaking tree-rubbing frenzy. But if they'd end up sitting around listening to Jimmy Hendrix, that'd be cool.
(Though not connected to the main theme of this post, I want to share some photos that I came across in the course of researching the buck-related subject of "big rack." Who knew that a big rack like that cost $400-750 ? Not for plastic surgery – for the antlers.)