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Full Buck Moon 7/3/12 11:52 a.m. PDT

July 1, 2012

Here’s another update from SMBAS Blog on that large, circular, shining object which has frequently and mysteriously appeared in our nighttime sky this year (known to many as the moon).

July 3, 11:52 a.m. PDT — Full Buck Moon.   This full moon was so called because it occurs when the new antlers of buck deer push out from their foreheads in coatings of velvety fur.   It was also often called the Full Thunder Moon, thunderstorms being most frequent at this time. Sometimes this is also called the Full Hay Moon.   Since the moon arrives at apogee less than 13 hours later, this will also be smallest full moon of 2012.   In terms of apparent size, it will appear 12 percent smaller than the full moon of Jan. 10.

The next significant full moon will occur on Aug. 1, 4:27 p.m. PDT.   Keep an eye on this spot for additional breaking news on this unprecedented event.

This information comes to you courtesy of:
But that’s waaaay too long to type in, and besides, you don’t need to go there because SMBAS has done the work for you!
[Chuck Almdale]

One Comment
  1. July 2, 2012 1:19 am

    A true story from my book “Amazing Wildlife Encounters”


    Roach Creek, Northern California, 1991

    During autumn of 1991, I was assigned to work in a timber harvest plan in the upper reaches of Roach Creek, a tributary to the Lower Klamath River. I rode out there with some other forestry workers. We drove an hour up the coast from of Eureka, then another half-hour up Bald Hills Road. We turned onto a private timber company road at Schoolhouse Peak near the southeast corner of Redwood National park. From there, the road runs northeast along the ridge between Roach Creek to the northwest and Tully Creek to the southeast. The THP area I was assigned to reached from the road along the ridge down the mountainside to the upper reaches of Roach Creek.

    My coworkers dropped me off at the southeastern boundary of the plan area. I hopped out of the truck, grabbed my gear, and my co-workers drove off down the road to their respective work areas. My job for the day was to conduct a preliminary watershed assessment for the THP area. I was accustomed to working alone in the middle of nowhere, so my isolation didn’t concern me. We were all experienced forest workers and had become adept at tracking someone up and down steep slopes through thick brush. I was confident that if for some reason I wasn’t at our pre-arranged meeting place at the end of the work day, the others could find me.

    I started by following the plan area’s boundary down slope from the road to the steam below. Thoughts and memories of our long drive out there, the rest of the crew, and civilization in general melted away as I walked over to the edge of the road and entered the realm of Northern California’s forestland in the height of the fall season. Recent rains had cleansed the brisk autumn air and dampened the forest. Low-angle early-morning sunlight filtered through the dense canopy of tanoaks and Douglas-fir.

    Understory vegetation was kept to a minimum here by deep shade beneath the tanoak canopy. A thick layer of shed leaves carpeted the steep hard ground. When one is attempting to stand or walk on a steep slope, wet leaves are a recipe for disaster. They provide excellent boot-skiing conditions, though. To get down the hillside, I hopped off the road and executed a semi-controlled skiing-like form of locomotion driven by the always-dependable force of gravity.

    When I reached the bottom edge of the stand of tanoaks, my supply of slippery leaves ran out and I came to an abrupt halt, barely managing to stay on my feet. I stepped out of the forest into a small clearing that looked like a good place to begin my field observations. As I got out my notebook and pencil, I heard someone or something following my trail down the hill. I wondered if I had forgotten my lunch in the truck and one of the guys was bringing it to me. This seemed unlikely, though. In the still silence of the forest, I clearly heard the truck drive away but heard no motorized vehicle approach after that.

    I listened intently as noisy leaf-crunching footsteps followed my path into my little clearing. Suddenly, standing there was a large antler-bedecked mule deer buck. He stood on a rock outcrop ten feet uphill from me, and boy was he was pissed off! It was rutting season and he was looking to build a harem for the mating season. I was in his territory and it was obvious to him that I was trying to steal his prospective mates.

    A note on deer dangers:
    Most people are not aware of how aggressive and dangerous deer can be. Deer attacks are not uncommon and almost always involve a buck during rutting season. “Rutting” refers to the early mating season. Bucks are establishing territorial boundaries and competing with each other for prospective mates, and they aggressively defend both their mates and their territory. During the fall 2006 rutting season, mule deer bucks attacked three people in California, killing one of them.

    This buck glared wildly at me, snorting loudly through flared nostrils. I was close enough to get a good look at his antlers and what I saw was disconcerting. He had been busy improving those weapons of his, rubbing the tips on flat rocks as one would sharpen a knife on a sharpening stone. He had ground the tips at just the right angle to create extremely sharp points, and he was pointing those points right at me!

    I froze, not knowing what to do. I had never heard of anyone in such a predicament. Several scenarios ran through my mind. If he charged, he could reach me in an instant with a single lightning-quick leap, and his antlers would be right in my face. If I turned and ran, he would easily overtake me but at least his antlers would encounter my much less sensitive rear end. I suddenly felt very alone. It wouldn’t do me much good if my co-workers tracked me down six hours later – they would just find a bloody heap.

    I decided that a bluff was my best option. I jumped up, waved my arms, and yelled. Luckily it worked; the buck turned away and ran. I checked to make sure I had not soiled my pants, and resumed my duties.


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