Nature, dead and live

Posted on: August 4, 2015 | Bob Frye | Comments

It’s cliché to say it, but nature if not always gentle.
Anyone who spends time outside will see that. The outdoors are often a place of wonder and beauty and almost magical splendor.
But it’s harsh, too. Life dies — hard and ugly sometimes – to sustain other life. And sometimes creatures perish out of simple bad luck.
Some reader photos show both sides of the equation.
Dave Bayne of Plum Borough went down to Puckety Creek recently to trap for minnows, for bait for a fishing trip. It’s a spot he frequents regularly.
This time, though, he found something different – a dead 44-inch musky.
“There were no marks on it. It must have come up with all the high water we had, and couldn’t get back,” he speculated.

The dead musky found in Puckety Creek.

Marie Cook of West Leechburg, meanwhile, has been enjoying a peek at new life.
She lives on five acres of land that’s mostly wooded. Wildlife of all sorts is common sights outside her windows.
Recently, she looked out and saw a white-tailed doe with three fawns in her yard. She was able to get some nice photos of the deer.

Doe and Fawns 001

Marie Cook saw these deer in her West Leechburg yard recently.

Earlier in the year, she captured another interesting scene. She noticed something larger than the usual squirrel in her dogwood tree. It turned out to be a groundhog.
Though capable of reaching weights of 10, 12, even 15 pounds, and preferring usually to stay on the ground close to their burrows, they’re surprisingly good climbers, typically going up and down headfirst. They’re related to squirrels, so maybe that’s why.
They’re a more interesting animal than sometimes given credit for.
“Even though a groundhog has short legs, it can run at a fairly fast clip for a short distance,” the Pennsylvania Game Commission says. “An adult is a fierce fighter; dogs, coyotes and foxes are about the only enemies it has, although young chucks are preyed upon by owls and hawks.”
They also have good balance and frequently travel along wooden fence rails, the commission says.
So keep your eyes open out there – you never know what you might see, dead or alive.
Groundhog tree
A groundhog descends a tree headfirst in Cook’s yard.

Bob Frye is the editor. Reach him at 412-838-5148 or See other stories, blogs, videos and more at

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Bob Frye is a storyteller with a passion for all things outdoors. He hunts, he fishes, he hikes, he camps, he paddles, backpacks and snowshoes depending on the season. If he’s not an expert at anything, it’s because he’s passionate to try a little bit of everything.