Carmi’s theme this week is I’m Hungry. I decided to take a TOTALLY different approach to theme. I live in the sticks, and am thankfully surrounded by wildlife, with few human neighbors.  I love seeing the evidence of my four-footed and winged neighbors, even when I don’t see the animals themselves.

Each set of tracks was left in the new snow by a hungry animal, one seeking to fill his own hunger. 
bunny tracks
Rabbits are little furry vegetarians.  I know, I know, they’ll find your garden a smorgasbord of delights, and they’re sure you planted just for them.  Since I belong to a local CSA and don’t grow much food in my yard, it’s ok with me.  Besides, I surprisingly don’t see many rabbits.  

At the other end of the food chain, wild rabbits don’t have much meat on them, so there’s little rabbit hunting around here, at least by humans. They provide plenty of meals for fox, hawks, and other predators.
turkey tracks
The wild turkey is a beautiful sight. My good friend Margaret has likened watching a lone turkey walking down her driveway to a model on the runway – they are equally graceful and beautifully decked out.  It’s pretty common to see turkey tracks on the dirt road, since they need bits of gravel in their gullets to help process their food.

Most folks know that it almost became our national bird, beat out by the bald eagle. We do have a few eagles in my corner of the state, but we have lots of turkeys. Although the fairly goofy babies are easy pickings for lots of predators, adult turkey have such great eyesight and hearing that I think their primary predator is human.  And they are quite tasty, with little comparison to the “solution”-infused Honeysuckle Whites.

deer tracks
This lovely set of prints was made by a whitetail deer. Their population has dropped dramatically out here in the sticks in the past decade. While there are definitely too many deer in suburbia (or is it too many people in suburbia??), we’ve seen dramatic declines in our rural populations, thanks to a combination of predation by coyotes & bear and the issuance of too many doe permits.

I could, in fact, eat each of these animals, but I’m not a hunter and I don’t. I fully realize that as an omnivore that’s pretty contradictory, but that’s the way it is in my life. I do eat meat, although not a lot of it. I try to buy locally-raised when I can, resorting to the grocery store more than I care to admit.

Seeing these animals in the wild, or even just seeing their tracks near my house, feeds my soul far more than their meat would feed my body.

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