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Wild kingdom

Seems to me we didn’t have so many wild critters to contend with in Halifax County when I was growing up down U.S. 501.

I’ve always encountered squirrels and the occasional deer outside my home and down around the woods line, but the past several years have produced a veritable menagerie of creatures, some big and others small.

My brother took a leisurely jog along an old dirt road across the road from our house several years ago during rutting season and incurred the wrath of an obviously perturbed buck.

Truth be told, my brother probably set the land speed record while escaping the deer, and he’s just now catching his breath I believe.

An itinerant groundhog has called my neighbor’s field next to the woods line home for several years, and I see rabbits more and more often in twilight time munching out in my back yard and the neighbor’s garden.

“What’s up, Doc,” I find myself asking when the evening visitors dart for cover.

I’ve encountered everything from a red-tail hawk to a turkey in my neighbor’s yard the past couple of years, and one neighbor down the road swears she saw a bear cross through the back of her property.

Of course, more unwelcome guests include the voles that create havoc in my yard, destroying lawns in the process.

It may be through loss of habitat, but we all seem to be experiencing “close encounters of the third kind” with wild animals these days.

As long as they aren’t in an aggressive mood, that’s ok with me, because that’s the big advantage of living in a rural area.

It’s calming to sit on one’s back porch and watch families of deer out for an evening stroll or observe the “bird life,” ala Marlin Perkins of Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom.

I don’t think we’ll be wrestling any anacondas soon, but I wonder about feral hogs, killer bees and fire ants.

Watch where you step, and remember, don’t feed the animals.