I have noticed in the past month or so that I have seen more deer on or around the roads and interstates than I have in many years. I live and work in Manatee County Florida in a relatively rural area but has in the past few years started the build out into more surburban areas. Last week I was driving down a two lane road that on one side has a newly started sub-division and on the other an open pasture with about 100-150 cattle grazing, I estimate this open pasture/sod farm to be around 500-700+ acres. This road runs perpendicular to the Manatee river and is prime area that I constantly monitor for activity. As I was driving, I glanced over to see a doe and her fawn(possible 2-4 months old but much smaller than the doe)running at top speed in the pasture and as luck would have it they continued horizontal to the road for at least a mile. I was traveling at 50mph and they were both keeping up with me as I traveled. I estimate that for at least 45-60 seconds I was able to see the two of them running at full speed as they were trying to escape from something. They were only about a hundred yards off the road but for some reason never diverted from their path straight down the pasture. It was amazing that for much of the run the fawn was in the lead and mom was only a stride behind. I remember wandering what could have spooked them so badly. Forward to last Thursday night, my wife and I were returning from some friends of ours' house, and we were on a road that runs horizontal to the Mantee river in the same area that I saw the deers running. This road dead ends into the road I was on when I saw the deer and the pasture actually fronts both of these roads. As we past a particular wooded area of the road on this night my wife commented "oh a stinky kiddie", her term for a skunk. This is a saying she will say many times when we are traveling around Central Florida. I have seen a few dead skunks in my 27 years living here but not many and there were none seen that night. I unfortunately was born without a sense of smell, one that many of you declare is important when near a monster. I can't smell a d*** thing and in most times have found it a major plus when I hear my wife complaining about how this or that stinks so bad. Regardless of my handicap, I have often wandered if what she is smelling is truly a skunk or Skunk-ape. I now am wandering if the two instances are connected in the way that the deer may have been spooked by a possible skunk-ape. Obviously, without the ability to smell what she is talking about, I can't first hand report on what she smelled but many I have talked to related that the moist, swampy areas around much of Florida emit noxious, nauseating smell due to the methane gases and are often discribed as smelling like a skunk or dead body. I know of no recent sightings in this area and as I said, I have been a constant monitor of the upper Manatee River, Myaka Head, Lake Manatee Water Shed.
Regardless, I found it very interesting that I have seen so many deer in broad daylight lately, openly grazing in the roads and byways around my area of operation.