Weird, unexplainable, interesting things happen all the time. Those of us who have spent some time outdoors have seen some things we can’t unsee, and it’s those oddities that stick with us. Here are a few things that I still find it hard to believe I’ve personally come across in my short 26 years on this earth.
1. Weird-Looking Wapiti
Non-typical animals are simply those that vary from the norm in regard to specific features. For example, have you ever seen a deer with antler points going every which way, or maybe one point isn’t a point at all, but rather a massive club? The explanations as to why these occur are many, from wounds to genetics to diet, but one thing is for sure: They’re neat, and certain species tend to have more anomalies than others. Whitetail deer, for example, at least in my experience, have more non-typical antler formations than elk. Maybe that’s just probability coming into play, because there are more whitetail deer than elk, so statistically speaking, the deer just naturally has a higher chance for odd antler growth to occur. But that’s not to say that it doesn’t happen with elk.
My dad and I found this elk (pictured above) while on a hike in Colorado.
2. And In This Corner...
Okay, this one probably doesn’t sound that weird at first. All animals fight, especially when it’s breeding season. That’s not what I’m talking about. For example, I watched a coyote and an antelope have a staring contest. The stare-down lasted for a good few minutes, with both animals frozen, not lifting a hoof or a paw. And then, out of nowhere, the antelope gave chase, pursuing the coyote, which turned tail and was booking it as fast as he could to the next zip code. The two ran over a small hill, and dropped over the other side. I’ll never know if the antelope got the better of the coyote, or if the coyote lived to stalk another day, but I can tell you that was probably the weirdest confrontation I’ve ever seen in nature.
3. The Vaulting Varmint
This is another one that’s not surprising. Many healthy four-legged animals can jump a fence. That’s akin to walking up stairs for us; no big deal. But I was on a hunt down in Texas, and it was the last night of the hunt when we called in this pup of a ‘yote that was coming in quick straight at us, head low to the ground. Spotlighting the dog (it was past midnight), all I could really pick out were the eyes that flickered a dull red thanks to the glaring reflection of the light. I took aim, and right as I pulled the trigger, it lifted its head. Since we were elevated in the back of a truck on a stand, the bullet dropped right under its chin, missed his chest, and punched the dust near its hindquarters, spraying fragments everywhere, peppering its underside with dirt. While I couldn’t see what happened through the scope, another hunter next to me saw this dog jump about 4 feet straight up in the air, move 90 degrees midflight, and take off into the brush. When we went to examine what happened (until that point, I thought I hit him good, thinking I got the chest since I didn’t drop the dog there with a headshot), there was one set of tracks coming right for us, a small crater where the bullet hit and blew up, and then tracks going 90 degrees to the left. Remind me never to compete in a high jump contest with a varmint.
4. Food Chain Frenzy
This one isn’t necessarily hunting related, but isn’t something people see every day, either. I was driving around my home town in Colorado late one night with a friend over a precipitous, rural road called Skyline Drive. A deer crossed the road, coming up the left side embankment and down the right, so I stopped (the speed limit is only 15 MPH, so you’re nearly stopped as it is). The weird thing was, this muley wasn’t moseying around, taking its time like city-tamed deer usually do. It was hoofin’ it. A split second later, I knew why: A mountain lion was in hot pursuit. I saw a flash as the deer bounded across the road for an instant, and then a mass of red and brown, and a long tail dashed in front of my Celica’s headlights not a second later. I didn’t recognize it as a cat at first, until I asked my friend what they saw, because I couldn’t believe it. It was only then that we concurred we just saw that deer’s last few fleeting minutes and that lion’s late night snack.
What weird experiences has nature given you a front-row seat for? Tell us in the comments!