This is the third in our new weekly column, That Nature Show, about the nature right under your nose: in our backyards, playgrounds and parks! Stop and look around, you’ll be amazed at what surrounds you.
White Tailed Deer, Odocoileus virginianus, hitherforward to be referred to as The F*(%ers Who Ate All My Hostas, are as common in Maryland as reindeer are in Santa Land. But just try to get them to do anything decent like pull your sleigh?
They’re a prey animal, a herd animal, meaning kinda dumb, and easy to hunt. My great-grandfather had white tail deer legs as the legs to the table by his favorite pipe-smoking chair and all around the house were mounted deer heads bristling antlers. I digress. I mean to illustrate that the deer I am most familiar with are dinner.
And the deer that are alive in my backyard I want dead. They ate every last leaf off my sapling fig, so now all that’s left in the yard is a stick. Plus they carry ticks. And cause car accidents; for when it’s mating season, no highway is an impediment to deer-love.
But I had read the book The Yearling and deer are so soulfully doe-eyed, I hiked up my all-creatures-big-and-small-the-lord-God-loves-them-all big-girl pants and set out to learn more. “If you catch one, Mom, put a leash around it so I can take it for a walk,” said my daughter, 6, “Pleeeaassseee.” All I could think was LYME DISEASE MUCH?
Overpopulation, especially in suburbia, is a big problem; there are no longer the coyotes, lynxes, wolverines and bobcats that are their natural predators, but minimalls.
The deer are eating garden ornamentals because they’re tender and sweet compared to nibbling forest leaves and field gleanings. In winter, there are slim natural food sources to go around; the deer are starving. Knowing that, now, when I look out my window and see a herd I think “emaciated” “gaunt” and “won’t make it through the winter.” Yippeee!
Also: I wonder from where can I import like, oh, say, three or four coyotes or an American crocodile, to make culling the herd as efficient and humane as possible?