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      The Nature Report: Ranch Country Morning

      The golden light of early morning bathes this remote ranch country oasis in a peaceful glow.

      With the days first light an ethereal mist hovers over the tranquil waters. A pair of frisky young bucks spars along the waters edge, before moving on to explore the rest of the ponds perimeter. Next, a turkey gobbler soars gracefully across the water to join his flock on the opposite bank where he stretches out his landing gear and makes a flawless running landing.

      As if the landing were not outstanding enough, the gaudy gobbler then commences to proudly strut. Suddenly, a doe comes running across the pond, making graceful leaps as she clears the water. A young buck is in hot pursuit.

      Within seconds several more bucks appear, and it is apparent this late season doe has a devoted contingent of love-crazed suitors. A pied-billed grebe that has been leisurely floating nearby, decides all this commotion is too much and takes a precautionary dive. Soon, a trio of bucks returns moving slowly and having apparently been out maneuvered by the elusive doe. As the pond side action subsides, the biggest surprise of the morning materializes -- an impressive buck peering over the brush.

      It's not known how long he has been there, but he eventually decides to move on. Turns out he has a young doe in his company.

      It's doubtful any of the pond side suitors will challenge this alpha male.