In The Yearling, why did Buck and Mill-wheel Forrester go off together with Penny and Jody?
Buck and Mill-wheel Forrester go off together with Penny and Jody to evaluate the damage wrought by a terrible storm which has stricken the area. After they had seen to their own stranded stock, Buck and Mill-wheel had taken the initiative to ride over to the Baxters' place to see that everything was all right with their neighbors as well. The flood had played havoc with the wildlife in the area, and
"it was agreed that the four of them, Buck and Mill-wheel and Penny and Jody, should make a tour of exploration for some miles around, so that they might know what to expect, in the immediate future, of the movements not only of the game, but of the predatory creatures."
Because they are dependent upon their immediate environment for their survival, it is important for the men to know how the wildlife has been affected by the disaster. Buck, Mill-wheel, Penny, and Jody decide
"to make a wide circle that would take in both Baxter's and Forresters' Islands, Juniper Springs, Hopkins Prairie, and the good deer territory where the live oak islands that (lift) from the marshy saw-grass would certainly have provided refuge for the animals."
In their explorations, the men discover that, sadly, the flood
has reached everywhere...and (has) torn out all the things for whom the solid earth (is) their only refuge." (Chapter 20).