A great holocaust has spread across the range over the last decade. The thousands of mule deer that have migrated for centuries to their winter range out on the Sublette prairie have found that windswept space already occupied. Where there was once emptiness, forage and star-filled nights, now there are towers of light that drown out the winter stars. A roar and rumble of a thousand engines and machines dull fine-tuned ears that are designed to listen for the cry of a coyote or the crack of a twig in the forest. Finely tuned noses of millions of animals of all kinds, predator and prey, are now filled with the stink of burning hydrocarbons that blow in the wind to the highest peaks of our sacred mountains.
And so, when the mullies moved into their timeless winter migration across the foothills and down the creek bottoms toward the mesa, struggling over hundreds of fences, avoiding scores of buildings, dodging the vehicles that refuse to slow at night like the sane world does, thousands have died. The research tells us that the herds have dropped by 60 percent. Thousands of animals that were a natural part of this precious garden God gave us to protect have left the earth like the vast, countless herds of buffalo that roamed the North American continent and the great forests of giant redwoods because there was not room for them in the white manís world. The deer that live around my house here in the foothills have always been here. When my father and I built this house above the town 40 years ago, the deer were here watching. In the winter, they come to find shelter from the wind behind my house and in my yard. Many dreary winter mornings, I am greeted by a band of frosty, furry faces with their bright, innocent eyes at my kitchen window and my heart is glad. They are most welcome. Their brothers and sisters may not be welcome anymore in many places all over what was first their home, but they are welcome in my yard and my yard will adapt to whatever it needs to be to accommodate them.
Greg Toth, Pinedale For the complete article see the 05-11-2012 issue.
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