The hunters were out in force at Big Island this morning as the duck season resumed (don't think the goose season ever ended). There were three blinds set up and lots of gun fire. One of the boats had a dog to boot.
The commotion seemed to have spooked a pair of Lake Manitou's swimming deer. We saw a buck leave the island in the lead followed by a doe or fawn--couldn't be sure. I was amazed that they took on the near-freezing water of the lake--they must have been terrified.
As they reached the mid-way point heading for Wolf Point, the second deer began to lose speed and dropped back from the buck. The buck turned toward the laggard deer for a brief time, and then turned for the mainland again. The following deer struck us as losing steam for sure, but continued gamely on.
Unfortunately, the hunters were breaking camp at this time and a hunter in one of the boats saw the buck. He circled the buck once in his boat (with dog in front), probably out of curiosity to see this large thing in the water. I don't think he was aware that he intervened in the path of the following deer. At that point I think she gave up the fight, as she disappeared under the water never to be seen again. The buck soldiered on toward the point, and the hunter to his credit continued on his way as well. The buck made it to shore--but I can't imagine him surviving--soaking wet and exhausted on a twenty-five degree day.
Ask any farmer in the area, and they will tell you that we have way too many deer. Still--it is sad to see them go out this way.