White-tailed Deer - Randy Therrien

White-tailed Deer – Randy Therrien

We observed an interesting phenomenon on the weekend at our cottage on Baptiste Lake, near Bancroft. The lake was still frozen except for a portion in the middle that was open due to the current going down the York River. Groups of deer (5-10 at a time) arrived to the lakeshore wanting to get across the lake, presumably to go north towards Algonquin park. A few would march bravely onto the ice, swim across the lake and after numerous, numerous attempts, would get back on the ice across the shore and carry on.

Most deer however; would pace up and down the ice in an agonizing decision as to what they should do. Some would fall through, but after many tries, thankfully got back up and carried on. It was heart-wrenching to watch them. The ice surface was covered with ‘hoof’ marks of deer walking around trying to decide where to cross.

Just wondered if you could shed some light on this plight of the deer: would this be happening over many of the northern lakes? Is it common? Why wouldn’t they take a route by land? Why do some deer go straight for the other shore; while others appear to agonize over the decision?

 Susan Foley

Categories: Sightings

Drew Monkman

I am a retired teacher, naturalist and writer with a love for all aspects of the natural world, especially as they relate to seasonal change.