Ollie and the Muntjac

During the unusually hot summer, Ollie started to enjoy his walks less and less. He began to curtail them of his own volition, by heading to the exit from Beetley Meadows, and refusing to budge until I put on his lead, and headed home. Since the abrupt change in the weather, he continues to act as if it is still unpleasantly hot, and tries to get me to take him home after less than forty minutes. But we both need our exercise, so I have refused to go, and made him follow me.

Our usual diversion over to Hoe Rough has had to be cancelled for a while, due to the presence of cows with small calves. I don’t fancy fending off any angry mother cows, and looking out for Ollie at the same time. So, I try to mix things up a little, to convince Ollie we are not doing the same circular walk. Yesterday, I took him into the wooded area, for the first time in a few days. He sometimes spots squirrels in there, and chasing them up trees enriches his outdoor experience.

A few paces in from the kissing-gate, I was startled by a stocky Muntjac deer emerging from some bracken, and charging across the path ahead, close enough for me to touch it. Ollie spotted the white rear-end of the animal, and took off in hot pursuit, yelping excitedly. I am always concerned when he chases a Muntjac, as they have short horns and tusks, and can be fierce if cornered. But I assume he is unlikely to ever catch one, and I am pleased to see him following his canine instincts. And the rather chubby deer could have done with losing some weight by being chased, I reasoned.

I spent more than ten minutes trying to find where they had gone. The woodland area there is relatively small, and fenced all round. No doubt the deer had gained entry under one of the fence rails, as that small species of deer are not adept at jumping. Struggling through brambles, Holly bushes, and waist-high bracken, I eventually found my frothy faced dog staring into a dense thicket of seemingly impenetrable brambles. Inside, I could just make out the legs of the deer, and when I stood quietly, I heard it breathing hard.

I called Ollie away, and he left reluctantly, with a whine. But the distressed deer had to be left in peace, and Ollie had been given some much-needed exercise during the short chase. With any luck, that same deer will return on a regular basis, and give my dog renewed interested in his walks.

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58 thoughts on “Ollie and the Muntjac

  1. Ahhh muntjacs are so cute!

    My little dog, Biffi had a bad leg for a while, which used to make him limp a little if we walked too far and then me or my mum would carry him. For years after that even when he was definitely fully recovered he would suddenly affect a limp when he no longer fancied walking (often uphill) and then look at us expectantly hoping for a quick pick up.

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  2. Our three dogs have given up chasing them, realising that it is futile, now they just lazily bark from the terrace as our crops are devoured πŸ™‚
    Mind you we recently heard from the local forester that wolves have moved into the nearby forest, so the deer better watch out!
    Jackie has made me laugh in the past, as a spaniel she follows the scent on the ground and has run past deer going the other way, so intent is she, head down sniffing and running at the same time πŸ™‚

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  3. My dogs chase deer all the time when we hike, Pete. We have a huge deer population–so much so that the TWRA (Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency) sometimes has to authorize out of season hunting to thin the herd for the health of the herd. I have a Blue Heeler and an English Shepard mix–both are very strong runners and neither of them have come close to catching one. My dogs love it when the air gets crisp and the heat lessens. It really energizes them. I hope Ollie gets refreshed by the cooler weather. He’s a beautiful boy!

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    1. I like to see him act on instinct, but would never allow him to hurt an animal if I could stop it.
      As for making him walk when he doesn’t want to, I know he is getting older, but he still needs the exercise. πŸ™‚
      Thanks, Pippa.
      Best wishes, Pete. x

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  4. Our little terrier loves chasing foxes but he’s 13 now and refuses to get excited over the squirrels on the bird feeder, maybe because they are up high and he knows he can’t reach them.
    He’s very deaf ( or pretends to be) but has amazing powers of intuition when judging hubby’s body language.
    I don’t know how to add a photo on here but I do have one of a squirrel dangling from the seed feeder which I’ll put on my blog.

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  5. I’m afraid I agree with Fraggle here Pete. I hate to see wild animals (or domestic ones) chased by a dog. Seeing one hassle a sheep was bad enough especially when the owners took no notice of what it was doing, and when one caught and killed a rabbit right in front of my grandchildren I was spitting feathers! And maybe Ollie is showing signs of his age not wanting a long walk anymore.

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    1. I agree that worrying sheep is a concern, as they can rarely run away very far. It is in their nature for dogs to kill rabbits, in the same way that next door’s cat tears apart wood pigeons on our lawn. But I would never let him harm a deer of course, and the chase was very short. And if I thought Ollie would ever catch a rabbit, I would call him away from that too. (But they seem to be vanishing around here. Locals cite myxomatosis.)
      Best wishes, Pete. x

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      1. Myxomatosis is horrible. We found a young rabbit near the castle in Ludlow a few years ago and I was concerned that it allowed me to get very close. When I did I could see that it was almost blind with swellings and discharge around the eyes. And I am sure you would stop Ollie doing harm, but not everyone is a responsible dog owner as we have discussed before.

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  6. I’d never heard of this type of deer until you mentioned it some time back. It’s very curious looking. Apparently this deer has been around since the Miocene. Wikipedia describes it as an invasive species in the U.K., but I wonder what harm it does, if any. It certainly does some goodβ€”a bit of exercise for a certain Shar-Pei!

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    1. Around here, they get chased by dogs, hit by cars, and are often shot for meat. Locals consider them to be pests. I like to see them in nature, but also accept that Ollie is doing what is natural to him.
      I often call him away from chasing them, but had no chance yesterday, as he was too fast. πŸ™‚
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 2 people

  7. I feel a bit sorry for the deer as it must have been frightened being chased by a big lolloping dog. Also there’s a chance your deer was not so much stocky as pregnant as Muntjac’s breed all year round. So I’m a bit sad Ollie is getting his excercise by terrorising another creature. Sorry.

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