Mad Jack Hanks: Communicating with critters brings day-to-day joy
September 16, 2016
Gentle readers, if you recall I have mentioned in recent columns how interested I have become these past few years with how some, if not all animals, react with their human counterparts in some situations. I think it might have begun years ago when we first moved up to Colorado to manage a large mountain ranch on the Western Slope. This certainly was a new gig for us flatlanders from Texas. We had purchased a cabin between Creed and Lake City, Colo., a few years before, but were only there maybe three weeks out of the year. So we certainly couldn't accept the tag of "mountain folk."
We were amazed at the size of the deer and elk population on the ranch. In our yard, we had some crabapple trees which deer loved to munch on. It was not uncommon to see several deer in our yard eating apples.
There was this one young buck we called Two Forks, as he had a forked antler on each side of his head. He seemed to be fairly used to us humans, so my daughter, age 15, laid out a string of crabapples from the tree to her position on the back porch. Ole Two Forks, after a few days of this, finally made his way to within a couple feet of her as she held an apple in her hand. I think she had to drop it in order for him to eat as he didn't have the courage to eat from her hand. We had a photo of her cat standing upon her hind legs touching noses with Two Forks as he lowered his head. What a neat photo that was. Hunting season rolled around and no more Two Forks. Don't know if he just headed to the brush or got shot or both.
I have mentioned my back yard buddy ole Jack, my jackrabbit friend.
“There are just those times when he feels the need to inspect and get involved in a lot of the things that I do when he is close by.”
As I was filling up a water tub, Jack hopped up to within ten feet of me and lay down under the shade of a small tree as I worked. I spoke to him as I usually do and he didn't really react one way or another, he just seemed to be totally relaxed with me close by. My two horses came up to water from the pasture and get a drink. They hung around also as I would reach across the fence and rub them occasionally.
The tank was a little mossy so I decided to let it run over and clean it up a little. When it began to run over ole Nugget, my big zebra dun, got concerned that it was spilling water. So he walks over to the tank and tries to drink all of the water going over the top before it spills. He knows that we aren't supposed to be wasting water I guess. Children, it was just plumb funny the way he tried to contain all of that water. There are just those times when he feels the need to inspect and get involved in a lot of the things that I do when he is close by. I had a Walt Disney moment a few days ago as I looked out my kitchen window. I have a small pan maybe seven inches across and there is usually two to three inches of water in it as it sits right under a faucet in the yard. This Robin had settled in the pan to take a bath and she was surrounded by seven sparrows sitting on the edge of the pan watching her bathe. She splashed and shivered and shook in the water and to my amazement, all the sparrows seemed to be shaking and bouncing on the pan's edge in sheer delight of the water splashed in their direction. That was some fun watching. Try communicating with your critters if you haven't already. It's a hoot.
Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion, remember my calendars are here early this year, same deal as last year.
P.O. Box 825
Wellington, CO 80549.
Ten dollars for the first one and $8 for the rest, signed sealed and delivered.
Again, I will tell ya how much I appreciate all of you. THANKS! I'll c. y'all, all y.all.