Saturday, October 27, 2012

It's the Deer Problem, Stupid

Early this summer I received my issue of the National Wildlife magazine.  I admit to subscribing for the beautiful pictures of nature.  I do not read every article. 

One article I did read was titled 'In Defense of Wildflowers'.  No pictures, but everyone knows how much I love flowers, so I read it.

Imagine my dismay when I discovered that the reason for the discussion was that feral hogs were destroying the native flowers and habitat.  Feral hogs are a problem?  What about the g-d- deer????  Come to Town Hall or our nature preserve in the Spring and you may notice that all the tulips and trillium have been eaten by the deer.

According to the article there are 5 million feral hogs.  According to my web search, there are over 25 million deer with a population that doubles every two years.  Ten deer today, twenty two years from now.  And it's not that we have invaded their habitat (I've lived here 40 years), it's that they have more food sources and no predators.  (Why did we not allow Ted Nugent to bow-hunt deer in our nature preserve????   And yes, in the early 90's I thought it was a bad idea.  Stupid me.)

Their only predator here is the car.  I live in a state that is in the top five for deer crashes.  In my community there are a little over 31 square miles.  About 14% of that area is open water, or about 4 acres.  Last year there were eleven deer-car crashes reported.  So far this year there have been 10.  Ten crashes across 27 acres and that's not all roads.  Last month there was a dead fawn right up at my corner on the main road.

My theory about folks being upset about feral hogs is because they are not 'cute'.  Oh, the deer are so cute, along with chipmunks and squirrels (rats not so much).  It reminds me of people who choose their mates based on looks and then realize they have married a complete jerk.

The deer are a serious problem.  While I was doing my web search I found this article from a year ago about a car-deer crash that ended in the death of seven family members.  What will it take to make people see that we need to address this issue locally?

This week I received my newsletter from Christopher Kimball at America's Test Kitchen.  He lives in Vermont and it is bow-hunting season.  Here is an excerpt: 

This year I used a camouflage face mask that fits over my cap and, to my surprise, it made a difference. I had a young doe walk no more than 20 feet away and then turn to look at me for more than a minute without spooking. I guess human faces really are what scare deer the most.

Human faces?  What kind of deer do they have in Vermont?  I have never scared a deer out of my yard by looking at it and I think I look kinda human.  They certainly do not see me as a threat.  And I don't think they would run off if I stood on the deck with the bow and arrow I have hanging down in the basement.

I am constantly asked when the Township Board will address this issue.  Well, these are the same folks who refused to get rid of the mute swans on the lakes.  Nothing like paying thousands upon thousands of dollars in property taxes to live on a lakefront and then not have access to your beach because some invasive species is chasing you away. 

Sometimes I think our whole world is going nuts in the name of saving the environment.  What about saving the people? 

1 comment:

  1. Deer aren't scared of human faces in New York either. They just about walk up to people in the suburbs a half hour from Manhattan. Enjoy your pumpkin goodies!


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