SNOW GEESE: The gravel-voiced invaders from the Arctic are back on the Eastern Shore in record numbers. The Audubon Naturalist Society has a trip scheduled Saturday to explore Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge to admire the snows as well as Canada geese, ducks, songbirds and raptors. Trip leader is Paul DuMont; call 703-931-8994 and leave a message after seven rings.

IN A RUT: Whitetail deer are at the height of their annual mating ritual. Last week we watched bucks chasing does around open fields in the middle of the day. The spectacle is entertaining to watch but can dangerous if you're driving, so slow down and be particularly wary of deer crossings or thickets near roads.

If you do bump into a deer with fatal effect, Anne Arundel County police officer Brian Riddle is back in business collecting and processing fresh Maryland road kills, as well as extra deer taken by hunters, and distributing the meat to homeless shelters. Call him at 410-460-8509 to pick up deer in Howard, Montgomery, Prince George's, Anne Arundel, Charles or Calvert counties.

UPHILL CLIMB: A number of hiking clubs have expeditions scheduled next weekend to work off the Thanksgiving dining excesses.

* Potomac Appalachian Trail Club has a "busiest shopping day of the year" family hike scheduled for Friday on the Crescent Rock Trail to Betty's Rock in Central Shenandoah National Park. The 4- to 5 1/2-mile trek is suitable for hardy youngsters. Group leaves the Washington area around 9 a.m.; limit is 12 participants, so reservations are a must. Call John Butler at 301-263-0141.

* Sierra Club has a 15-mile circuit hike Saturday to Matthews Arm in the northern Shenandoah. Leader is Gary Tobin, 703-998-5057; and a seven-miler around Harpers Ferry next Sunday, followed by a tour of the historic Civil War town. Leader is Bob Goldberg, 301-540-2915.