Deer, Elk and More Freedom

The ranch is quite the haven for wildlife in the winter. Every time you glance over your shoulder you are bound to see mule deer. The prevalence of deer has been a real blessing during my convalescence from knee surgery. I am regularly seeing deer stroll by my bedroom window, one even paused at the window and nosed it the other day. It is easier to keep my morale up when I am able to watch the graceful movement of undisturbed deer throughout the day! Because of the number of deer in our area, we have to increase the amount of hay we give our horses in the winter. This photograph captures a common winter sight, Tuli, our two year old stallion, eating with his deer friends:

As you can see, our horses would be pretty hungry if we did not throw extra hay for the deer!

Yellowstone Park’s elk population generally migrates three different directions for the winter, north to Montana, south to Jackson and east to our valley. As a result, we have a sizable elk population that winters along the 17 mile dirt road that leads to the ranch, East Fork Road. If you drive to the ranch in the early morning or evening, you are pretty much guaranteed to see a herd of 300 – 400 elk peacefully grazing, a majestic sight:

I know they are far away in the photograph, but all of those little brown dots are elk that Richard and I saw on our way to the farm on Sunday. Here, we saw more of the elk herd a bit farther down the road:

To close my post about the elegant herbivores that surround us in the wintertime, I thought I would post a few more photographs of Freedom, the wild horse. Here she is standing along our fence line:

Freedom in motion:

Lastly (I love this one!), you see Orange Truck and our young horses in the foreground, and in the far background you see Freedom, waiting for her friends to finish eating and rejoin her for a visit along the fence line: