Important to respect wildlife

Walking along the new walking trail, off of Prince Street, we heard an odd, high pitched call, repeated several times. The time was twilight, and the shadows were deepening. Looking up into the wooded area, we saw a form which seemed to be the reason for the yapping sound, which was being repeated.

Janice thought that it might be a peacock, perhaps owned by one of the families whose land borders the Goodwin Trail. Personally, I thought it had a little too much personality for a peacock, whose mechanical mewing you can hear at the zoo. There was a distinct intelligence to this call, which seemed to be directed at us, not just a repetition.

When we moved past and he moved also,melting into the woods, it became clear that we had encountered a male fox. Satisfied that we were past his lookout, he left us to the female, probably closer to the den, who also warned us that she didn't want us to come any closer. She was also visible, if you looked into the shadows, deeper in the woods. Janice spotted one of the half grown youngsters, as well,once her eyes had adjusted to the rapidly encroaching shadows.

This column is about showing courtesy to our local wildlife, and listening to their messages. We will studiously ignore the reality of prairie dogs, which bring a mixed reaction in any group.

I am referring more directly to owls, hawks, ravens,turkeys, deer, etc., as well as the aforementioned foxes. We share the land, and share our portion of that land, with a variety of other creatures, also God's creations, and good manners demand that we show kindness and consideration to their rights, as well. As in the above instance, all that many animals ask is to be left alone, to carry on with their lives apart from human interference.

The truth that, normally speaking, our area is not populated by New Mexico's more dramatic species such as bears, panthers, and elk, does not imply that we don't need to appreciate and take account of the wildlife that is existant.

The twilight encounter with the foxes affected me deeply, perhaps more deeply than even makes sense, since I have seen and heard plenty of foxes in my life. Perhaps this was because the message was so plain, in terms of them asking us to respect their space, in that wooded several acres.

Last year, the bobcat told me before hand where the wild turkeys were living. I don't mean that in any mystical sense. I simply mean that, by repeatedly hearing the bobcat call from the same area, I knew where the turkeys were gathering.

The fact that I delayed too long, passed up shot after shot, and ended up not harvesting a turkey, was nobody's fault but my own.

The messages that wild animals will send to us, if we listen, are usually as clear and understandable as were the fox and the bobcat. We simply need to drop our arrogance, and listen.

Clyde Davis is a Presbyterian pastor and teacher at Clovis Christian High School. He can be contacted at:

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