July 31, 2014 | by Mark McDonald
A New Home Amidst Wildlife

Mule Deer, Wild Hogs, Rattlers, Rabbits, Lizards Say Howdy to Your New Neighbors

By Russell Graves
Contributor, sportsandoutdoors.guru

CHILDRESS, Texas — A year after moving into our new home, I can say it’s been a fun experience pioneering our piece of northwest Texas and dealing with the challenges – survey, contractor, sub-contractors, title company.

Our house isn’t too far out of town, but far enough to be in some incredibly rich wildlife habitat. On any given day you are liable to see a mule deer crossing the county road or a whitetail deer hanging out in the yard. Cottontail rabbits are abundant and have no fear of us as they go about their business while we are out in the yard.

Songbirds greet us with their bubbly songs. My favorite song is the simple three note call of the bobwhites as they whistle their tune in search of mates.

Wild turkeys frequently escape the sun by panting in the shade of our porch or next to one of the mesquite trees we left in the yard. Reptiles are common. Thankfully we have an abundance of Texas horned lizards that are fat from gorging on red ants.

The Texas horned lizard (AKA “horny toad”) shares the Panhandle with deer, hogs, rabbits and a number of other species. (photo by the author)

The Texas horned lizard (AKA “horny toad”) shares the Panhandle with deer, hogs, rabbits and a number of other species. (photo by the author)

We have our share of lizards who look comical when they run away on two legs when you startle them. In addition to the reptiles we like, we’ve also had to deal with less desirable reptiles. So far, I’ve seen different diamondback rattlesnakes in the front yard alone. There’s no telling how many are around that I haven’t seen.

Wild hogs are present as well. As many as 20 or more have been in the yard at one time or another: taking their turn eating milo from the platform of the bird feeder I placed in the backyard.

Living with wildlife has been good despite our garden and vineyard being nibbled upon by anything that enjoys fresh greenery. It’s okay, though.

Whatever challenges we’ve faced with the home are relatively minor. Sitting on the front porch and listening to coyotes in the evening make you forget about all of them.

RGravesFormer school teacher Russell Graves is now a noted outdoor photographer, writer and coach in youth sports. With questions or comments, contact Russell at russell@russellgraves.com or visit his website at www.russellgraves.com



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