Now the ‘hunger games’ begin for most of the wildlife out in northern Flyover Country. Avoiding starvation becomes a top priority as the lakes freeze and snow begins to cover the landscape.
Some animals have prepared by putting on layers of fat when food was abundant and then will hibernate or sleep during most of the winter. Other inhabitants such as ducks and geese have migrated to warm regions. Muskrats and beavers have prepared their ‘water world,’ protected lodges on lakes and marshes.
The rest of the creatures such as deer, pheasants, and the predators such as coyotes and fox now face the stark realities of finding food or killing another creature to survive. The days of abundant food for the herbivores are past. The crops are harvested and most fields are plowed. The days of easy pickings for coyotes, eagles, and vultures is past as well. Most sites where deer have been field-dressed by hunters have been cleaned up by the meat-eating scavengers, and the young prey have either been killed or have become more wary. The easy meal tickets are gone and now the predators must survive by their cunning hunting skills.
The hunger games have begun. While you nibble on popcorn at your favorite movie theatre, keep in mind that the real ‘hunger games’ are going on outside the theatre.